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QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

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.

Dates for your diary:

December 9th

Longwood - contact Richard Kenney, Tel. Meare Heath 296

December 10th

B.C.R.A. Winter Meeting, Hunters Lodge (new room) 4p.m.

Programme:      Water Pollution - Dave Maneley

                        Rock and Fountain Cave - John Parker.

The lectures will be followed by a buffet supper at 7 p.m.  Price (for meal only) £2.75, Bookings to Bryan Ellis, 30 Main Road, Westonzoyland, Bridgwater, Somerset, by 3rd.December 3rd. 1977.  Following the meal, at 8.30p.m. Jerry Wooldridge will be showing his slide sequences of Fairy Cave Quarry and La Cigaliere.

December 17th

Brecon Beacons - walking.  Bring pack lunch, waterproofs, boots, transport will be shared. Leave Belfry 8a.m. sharp. All interested contact Bob Cross, address in Nov B.B.

January 8th 1978

White Scar Cave - details from Martin Grass.

March 11th

BCRA Symposium - Cave Photograph, UMIST, Manchester.

Russ Jenkins writes:

The B.E.C. are now members of British Mountaineering Council and as such are able to avail themselves of the facilities of Club Huts in the following areas.  Lakes, 17 huts; others at Lancaster, Derbyshire, Swanage and Cornwall: 30 huts in North Wales and 17 in Scotland and Isle of Skye.

Climbers Insurance

It is now certain that climbers are NOT covered by BEC Insurance.  However, insurance may be obtained through the B.M.C. via the Club.  It is not cheap however and varies between £8.00 per person contemplating climbing in U.K. and the Alps or £6.00 restricted to U.K.  This does not include damage or loss to equipment, money, ropes, etc.  To cover those items a further increase takes the price up to £9 (first £20 of any claim is void) so it would appear the £6.00 would be in most demand for U.K. climbers.  These prices are only approximate and fuller details are available from me.  There is a BMC administration fee which reduces pro-rata.  It is a block policy which has to be submitted in one go, so I'm thinking of getting all applications to be submitted on Jan. 1st or so.  Money to be paid at time of application.


 

Alfie resigns from the BEC

It is with regret that we have to announce that Alfie has resigned from the club committee.  He tendered his resignation at the November Committee meeting without giving any reason.  At the same time he also handed in his resignation as Trustee for the Club. Most members will be now aware that several changes took place at the Annual Meeting held back in October.  But there are many who did not attend either the meeting or the dinner and may not know the situation.  The best way of explaining the position as it stands is by publishing an extract from the official minutes, compiled by Alfie:-

The Belfry Bulletin Report followed.  It had been published and the chairman asked the editor if he had anything to add to his published report.  Alfie replied that he had not, but that he would be pleased to answer any points which might arise during any discussion of the report.  Mike Palmer then reminded the meeting that he had acquired a reputation for outspoken comment and assured the meeting that he would not disappoint it on this occasion.  He said that the content of the B.B. was the major grouse and proposed that Dave Irwin be appointed to take over the Belfry Bulletin forthwith.  This was seconded by Martin Grass.  The Chairman said that he would take note of this resolution but felt that some discussion ought first to take place.  Colin Dooley said that he felt the existing B.B. was right for its purpose.  Some years ago, the club had decided to separate its more serious work from the B.B. in the form of the Caving Reports and more recently 'Cave Notes'.  If it was felt that the B.B. was not tbe right publication to exchange with other clubs, then Caving Reports and Cave Notes could be substituted.  Dave Turner said that he would like to recommend Dave Irwin to the meeting on the basis that he would have more time to devote to the B.B.  Nigel Taylor suggested that perhaps Alfie could be asked to provide a regular feature in a B.B. otherwise run by Dave.  Mike Palmer said that this was not an occasion for compromise of any sort.  Alfie's B.B. had let down the image of the Club and was a laughing stock amongst other clubs.  A far as B.E.C. members were concerned they were fed up with reading the thoughts of Chairman Alfie in his so-called editorials.  Colin Dooley said that it was therefore a question of style and the choice was not between two people as between two contrasting outlooks.  Tony Corrigan queried this and said that any editor prints what members send in.  Dave Turner said that this was only partly true.  For example, the B.B. could easily carry more caving news and news of other clubs etc. if the editor wished to include it.  Pete Franklin made the point that the content of the B.B. was aimed at club, members who rarely visited Mendip and should not therefore be judged by a meeting which was not representative of the readership being aimed at.  Bob Cross said that the B.B. as a rather poor newsletter and social sheet masquerading as journal.  Tony Corrigan said that a properly produced journal would be expensive.  Roy Bennett said that when Dave Irwin produced the B.B., its sales to people outside the club paid for only additional production costs. Nobody would buy Alfie's B.B. because it was not good enough.  The Chairman then invited Dave Irwin to explain what he would do if he were appointed as editor.  Dave said that he would make no radical changes but would increase the topicality with much more up to date information.  He said that he did not disapprove of features like 'Fifth Column' but that a proper balance between such features and more serious matter would be achieved under his direction.  The B.B. would remain as a monthly publication and retain its present format but would be about 50% larger in pages.  The Chairmen then thanked Dave Irwin and put the resolution to the vote. The meeting appointed Dave Irwin as Editor of the Belfry Bulletin by 27 votes in favour two 6 against.

Alfie has added a footnote to the minutes end is as follows: -

According to the authority I have consulted, the Chairman had a number of possible courses of action open to him when Mike Palmer proposed his resolution. He acted quite correctly by choosing one of the possibilities (i.e. taking the resolution to discussion, putting it to the vote and declaring it carried without first taking the report) but this particular course of action means that the 1977 B.B. Report had not been adopted by the A.G.M. and it is thus important to make this clear to members as otherwise a precedent will have been set which could have awkward repercussions in future.  Therefore, as the report in question has been published in the B.B. a disclaimer should now be published as soon as possible to the effect that this report was rejected by the AGM and has thus no official standing.  Members of the club who did not attend the A.G.M. will otherwise have no means of knowing that this report does not now define policy.

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An up to date report of the situation regarding the Club Trustees will be given in the next issue of the B.B.


 

Note from the Hut Warden

The Hut Warden wishes to announce that all utensils and cutlery has been removed and both members and guests will have to bring their own.  For several months now, the various items cooking equipment has been left in a pretty tatty condition and until people can do their own washing up and general tidying up, cooking at the Belfry will be with your own personal equipment.

Guests staying at the Belfry have been turning up on spec and causing the Hut Warden quite a headache. Will all guests please note that at least SIX WEEKS NOTICE is required thus allowing Chris Batstone to allocate bunks fairly between members and guests.

Note from the Tackle Master.

On the weekend of the 11-13th November a member wanted to use some tackle for an away trip.  There was no rope in the store, and there were only four lengths of ladder.  No equipment was signed out in the tackle log.  Please fill out the required details in the log such as: item of tackle, using code; cave or area; name of member; dates out and in etc.  As a reminder, ladder codes are now on top and bottom rungs.  Rope codes await a cheap supply of shrink-on numbers (as used in the electrical trade). Of these are not forthcoming (they were promised) we shall use copper ferrules.  Tethers have aluminium tags.  Many people are not bothering to wash tackle, especially rope.  I found one hanging up stiff' with mud a while ago. So the Drinking Pool has dried up - use the sink or the showers!

Graham

P. S. Where are all these donations of old SRT rope for digging????

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ALL SUBS PLEASE TO Tim Large, 72, Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock, Avon.  They are due in January.

NOTES IN BRIEF: £75 rebate from Cliff Hotel for poor service at Club Annual Dinner; John Dukes has been appointed publication Sales Officer; ADDRESS CORRECTION: Barrie Wilton, 27 Valley View, Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol, Avon.  Tele: Temple Cloud 52072.

A Headache For M.R.O.?

Reports have been coming in of a Mendip caver working with the social services is taking 11 and 12 year olds caving.  Nothing wrong with that you may think.  But taking them to Swildons 4 may give you food for thought!  In addition he takes them on his own with no other adult in the party.  The Wells Scouts have now crossed him off their list but your correspondent is informed that he is a free agent for other organisations.  However good a caver he might think himself there can be no excuse for taking such young people so far into a system that can be so treacherous at all times of the year.  In fact, a serious accident in Swildons 4 would give MRO a considerable headache because of the well known squeeze at the lower end of Blue Pencil Passage.

There is little that MRO can do about it, nor indeed, want to do about it - in other words MRO would not wish to be put into a position of being a judge.  The Council of Southern Caving Clubs will feel there is nothing that they can do except perhaps to contact the club to which this character belongs and offer some legal advice regarding the position of a minor.  I feel sure that such activities will be deplored by responsible cavers on Mendip and elsewhere.  This stupid action should be given the widest publicity in the caving press to ensure that to warn responsible clubs that such activity is taking place.

‘Wig’

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CARBIDE and CARBIDE LAMP SPARES are available at the Belfry - ask the Hut Warden - the prices are the cheapest you’ll find anywhere!

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DON'T FORGET THOSE CAVING REPORTS - the latest is Number 19.  Those members who are not up to date with their collection should send off to John Dukes at the Belfry for copies.  A full list will appear in the January B.B.


 

Ogof Graig & Ffynnon

(Rock and Fountain Cave)

By Irwin

On the old Clydach Gorge Road lies a pub well known to cavers in the area.  For several years a dig has been worked above the pub, slightly to the west. In September 1976 the diggers broke into a large cave system over five miles in length.  23rd October 1977 the author and Fred Davies were lucky enough to pay a visit to it and take in its underground splendour.

The layout of the Agen Allwedd system, the 15 mile long system, is well known to cavers, with its rambling passages stretching across the top of Llangatock Mountain near Brynmawr.  Since its discovery several relatively small sites have been explored, a few end in fragments of very large passageways.  The water flowing through the 'Aggy' system resurges near the upper end of the Clydach Gorge, but a small rising higher up intrigued cavers and so the Rock and Fountain dig commenced, some 100 yds from the rising itself.  In September 1976 the diggers decided to bang a small hole above their main site in the hope to reach the underground streamway.

After a combination of digging and banging a passageway was soon opened up leading to a squeeze into a 15ft long duck and on to a very unstable boulder choke.  Initially this was climbed with the aid of 20 ft ladder but shortly after the cave was opened the boulder walls decided to reorganise itself thus blocking the route through.  However, once opened the Second Boulder Choke could be worked on. Attacking this required a really determined effort on the part of the diggers to blast their way through a torturous route some 120ft long to emerge in a series of very large passages separated by a tedious crawl, mainly flat out for some 800ft to end in two enormous chambers.  To date some five miles of passage has been surveyed - in fact there are still nine boulder chokes to be pushed - each one breathing the famous South Wales draught.

The cave can be divided into three sections - the entrance series to the 2nd Boulder Choke (ruckle, if you are a confirmed Mendipian) followed by a single large passage, beautifully decorated, extending for, perhaps 3,000ft.  This continues to the long crawl passing en-route to a superb phreatic rift passage ending in the two enormous chambers.  Below the chambers a lower stream series is being explored and a comment from John Parker was 'you know you've been on a caving trip after going down there!  Again there are fine formations to be seen there.

After only having been in the cave once it is quite impossible to accurate locating the smaller but fascinating features; so a summary of the highlights in the entrance series may be slightly (even grossly) out of order between the main features.

From the entrance a 150ft flat-out crawl leads to a squeeze through boulders into a small, 20ft diameter chamber at the opposite end of which lies an uninviting hole some 2ft wide and perhaps 10" high - this is the start of the 15ft long duck. Normally it has some 4 - 5" of airspace but this is considerably reduced in the winter months, usually about 2" which must be quite off-putting to say the least.  The duck widens along its length and narrows again at the downstream end. From the far side of the duck a stooping passage leads to the First Boulder Choke after a series of grovelling crawls and squeezes.  As many will know, boulder chokes in South Wales tend to consist of small boulders and numerous pebbles tending to make them very unstable.  With great care, a 20ft. climb (watching a dangerously poised boulder at the top!) gives way to a long hands and knees, very gravely, very straight, crawl giving way at the end to a low roofed pool.  The passages here display fine formations that are typical of the area - grey and slightly muddy.  The explorers have laid red and white plastic tape forming pathways between the formations from the area extending throughout the remainder of the main cave.

Soon the 2nd Boulder Choke is reached and is considered by many that it’s a bit of a 'pig'. Initially, a 20ft ladder gains a narrow ledge above which a series of short steps and a 15ft ladder gives access to the base of the choke itself.  A very narrow passage through the boulder opened up by blasting; ascends in series of short steps, some very tight, to emerge at the head of a stalagmited boulder slope leading downwards to a 15ft wide passage.  From here the passage gradually widens until it reaches huge proportions – some 60ft across and at the far end the passage widens again to 80ft and up to 60ft high.  Formations abound and can be related to DYO in character, though some considerably finer. As I have mentioned before, tapes have been laid throughout the length of this section forming a meandering pathway to get the visitor close to the finest formations.  At the far end, on the right, a low hole leads into the 800ft long crawl passing under the 3rd boulder choke en-route.  This is a rather tedious affair generally flat out and very hard on the arms and knees!  General relief is felt when the high passage is reached.  Over 1,000ft long and about 40ft high the passage as straight as a die throughout its length.  On the sides of the walls are great areas of selenite crystals, some examples being up to 3” long.   The way splits at the far end; to the left a series of smaller passageways but to the right is the first of two very large chambers.  On entering this one is immediately taken aback by its size.  The huge wall at the far side is immense, perhaps 250ft long and up to 30ft high.  The floor spreads cut before you like a great off-white sheet dotted with mud stalagmites. To the left a scramble up over boulders enables the second large chamber to be reached – this is roughly circular and per-haps 200ft in diameter and up to 60ft high.  Opposite the entry point is one of nine boulder chokes - all draughting - that is being worked at the moment.  This point is some two miles from the entrance.  Below this area is a lower stream series entered via fine 50ft pothole which we did not enter.  After a session of throwing a grappling iron up into a high level hole in the first chamber, John prussiked up to it, only to find that the thing was locked amongst some stalagmite and not by the hooks but the back of it.  A few choice Welsh words followed but eventually he made it only to find that it continued as an aven that would require more climbing gear. Following food and coffee (coffee bags at that!) a short digging operation and banging operation followed in the choke.

From dye tests to date, the stream that resurges by the roadside does not come from the Aggy System and the new cave is thought to be quite separate and not a fossil part of Aggy. Only when the 800ft crawl is reached does the cave rise up into the Oolite beds in which Aggy is formed.  The sections of the cave in which formations are found lie in Dolomitic and because of its hardness, passages tend to be smaller than except where large collapses have occurred.  The survey is well advanced and is being drawn up by John Parker and some 5 miles of passage has been explored.  At the moment all trips are of a working nature and it will be some time before the cave is fully pushed and open to cavers in general. When they do it is to be hoped that cavers will respect the enormous amount of work that has taken place to open the cave and that they will keep to the pathways laid through the cave.  The cave is gated and one should remember that the cave lies under nature conservancy land.  Now, a final warning.  The entrance crawls, the 15ft duck and beyond to the 1st Boulder Choke is subject to flash flooding quite without warning.  It is not yet known under what weather conditions cause this, so take great care.  Not only does the water flow out of the entrance sump but wells up throughout the passage in the entrance series.  The 15ft. duck has been known to fill up in just a few seconds.  This cave might be considered a more serious proposition than the tidal sump in Otter Hole.


 

Letter To The Editor

Dear Wig,

The Severn Barrage mentioned in last months B.B. is unfortunately for Mendip, a necessary evil in the future and will be built.  The Severn Estuary is the best location in the world for such a scheme, i.e. generating electricity using tidal flow, as the largest tidal range exists on this part of the coast.  Once the problems of silting have been overcome the scheme, I think, will go ahead.

Instead of forming pressure groups to try and prevent this scheme a few suggestions on alternative materials to Mendip/South Wales limestone be more profitable.  Coal tip heaps have been suggested but a means of binding them is needed.  I am sure many people in the B.E.C. have suggestions as to what could be used, some sensible ones I hope, so how about a few letters to the B.B. and a few to the odd M.P.?

John Turner.

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ALL SUBSCRIPTIONS TO TIM LARGE PLEASE

SUBS ARE DUE IN JANUARY.

SUBS NOT PAID BY APRIL 1978 WILL MEAN THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO RE APPLY FOR MEMBERSHIP - THIS IS AN INSURANCE CONDITION.

Juniper Gulf

Looking over past BB's there's been lamentably little written about actual caving, so this article is an attempt to put things right.  Juniper Gulf is one of Yorkshire's classics and here I describe a trip down it that I made with a Cambridge University party.  We tackled the pot on ropes, which I think, adds to the skill and spectacle of it all, and at the same time, it removes a lot of the sweat.

We walked up to the Allotment from Crummack Dale on a dull, overcast Yorkshire day in autumn.  The wind howled through those embarrassing holes in the wet suit that you wished you'd stuck the night before!  After a mile or so we reached the fairly unmistakable entrance.  A large stream pours over steep cascades at one end of a large rift.  The entrance rift is perhaps a hundred feet long, up to seventy feet deep and the width is jumpable.  (More easily done in some places than others; and the stakes are high!)  We rigged it with a hundred foot rope and abseiled down. A fine free hang can be obtained using the stake belays on the east side of the shaft.

From the bottom an easy climb down leads to an obvious traverse line.  Not only are the ledges mega sized, but also the stream runs in a pretty narrow slot in the floor.  The stream trench starts off at about ankle snapping depth and then it drops away. Soon the passage widens, the ledges peter out and we realised that this was the second pitch.  This we rigged with a twenty five foot ladder.  The third pitch follows immediately and another twenty five foot ladder was used.  These two pitches were lifelined as one.  The third pitch dents Juniper's all weather image a little.  In general, most of Juniper's horizontal passages are traversed above stream level, and its pitches are rigged far enough out to be dry. The third is perhaps the exception to this.  It was a little wet near the bottom.

We traversed on again and the stream dropped away again.  The traverse became low and developed into a crawling traverse.  And then we reached the infamous 'Bad Step'. The passage became wide, ledges rather sparse, and the walls covered with a thin layer of slippery, clay like mud. I took a run at it, 'wall of death' fashion, made an horrific leap through space and grasped a micro flake on the other side with my clawing fingers.  No I didn't.  I had been led to believe that that may be the necessary technique, but in truth it was a non too desperate straddle that was further eased by our placing of a traverse line.  The traverse line was mainly for getting the tackle bags across but I was quite thankful of it when my super 'go faster' wellies began to struggle for a purchase on the muddy walls.

Almost immediately afterwards the fourth pitch occurs.  This drops some ninety feet or so back to stream level.  There are two ways to rig the pitch, the original way, and an alternative way.  After a lot of wittering, we saw that the alternative would have a nasty rub about twenty feet down, so we searched for the original.  This we found harder to locate than the alternative.  We couldn’t see the ale for the barrels.  There it was right in the floor!  We belayed our rope to a bombproof flake and backed it up to the end of our traverse line from the Bad Step.

The fourth is a pitch of contrast.  It starts in the floor of a small muddy bedding and ends in a spacious clean washed rift.  Like the entrance pitch, the fourth is a complete free hang, displaying again Juniper's eminent suitability for SRT.  The book of words reckons that the landing is 'spray lashed', but we found it dry all the way, with the main force of the water being about ten feet away at the bottom.

We approached the final. Again this pitch too has an original and an alternative hang and again the alternative, if anything, we found the easier to find.  The original, being wet was of little interest to us, so we followed a climb up through boulders and went across a traverse to what was obviously the head of the alternative final.  So this was it.  The magnificent final shaft of Juniper Gulf, the finest picture of which is reproduced on the cover of Bedford's 'Challenge Underground'.  (What? Well get it from the library then!) We easily found a couple of likely looking boulder belays.  'Biggles; the Bluewater!'

With the pitch rigged, we began to descend.  And yes, it surely is a very fine shaft.  The best I've ever seen.  A breathtaking descent of two hundred feet is made, hanging free in the middle of a massive, finely fluted and sculptured shaft.  The pitch is thankfully clear yet enticingly close to the roaring Juniper water. I landed and marched off downstream.

The route goes on down several climbs, through some deep pools to a sump.  I paid my respects to this real Guinness special and was about to borrow a carbide lamp in order to smoke on the wall a quick 'Gets everywhere', when I noticed that they where covered in flood debris, right up to the roof! 'Hmmmm, not worth the effort,'  I thought,  'Soon get washed off.'  And so I left it, and made my way back up to the foot of the final.

Soon it was my turn to prusik, and off I set.  My light was doing a bit of a glow-worm special, so to save it I prusiked some part of the pitch in darkness.  Dangling on a rope in free space, in darkness, listening to the continual roar of a waterfall is an object lesson in sensory depravation.  Mind blowing!  I reached the top and we de-rigged.

I climbed over the boulders and was on my way back to the fourth when suddenly; 'Clatter, clatter, clatter.'  'Oh, no!' I'd not done up the screw gate on the krab carrying my descender.  It had twisted open and my precious rack had fallen off and dropped down through the boulders.  Had I lost it?  Not quite. I could see it perched precariously on a boulder a few feet down.  I stripped off my chest harness and squeezed down.  At the third attempt, at full stretch, I got a finger around the top of it, and so back came the rack. Phew!

We plodded on out, up the fourth across the Bad Step (possibly worse in this direction), up the ladders, and so to the entrance.  We prusiked up the entrance pitch with me doing it by the light of the moon.  And so ended our trip.  Juniper is a fine pot, so short yet so deep, and it culminates so magnificently with that final shaft.  A great cave!

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Thanks Nick for the article on Juniper and I understand that there is another on its way dealing with 'Floating Cams' which should be good for a series of letters from our rope experts.


 

Review

Red Rose Cave and pothole Club Journal No.7

This edition of the R.R.C.P.C. Journal is up to standard that is expected from the northern clubs on the production and printing side.  The front cover has a good photograph and the plastic spine holds the 66 pages together without the worry of the odd page falling out.  The sketches and surveys are clear and understandable.

The contents however, are not as substantial as expected since this journal covers four years. The last one appeared in 1973 and this edition has rather a lot of, what could be termed padding.  It would seem that Red Rose are going through the doldrums with regard to work on Leck Fell and other areas, with only the Maracaibo extensions in Lancaster Hole reported as a significant find, and this took place in 1973!  The journal also suffers from lack of authors as 50% of the articles were written by three people.

There are some articles I did enjoy reading, one by Jim Eyre although based on an old event, is written in a very humorous way and along with his cartoons bring a touch of light hearted relief to this journal.

The article on last years Los Tayos Expedition to Ecuador runs to five pages but I was left feeling that a lot had been left out as this would appear to have been a rather unusual caving trip.

To sum up this journal, I think that it would be a useful addition to a club library, but is not worth buying to add to a personal collection.

 ‘Buckett’


 

Wigmore Swallet Dig

Provisional Report - The Story So Far:

By Tony Jarratt

Inspired by visits to the Windsor Hill and Viaduct dig sites in June of 1977, several B.E.C. members decided to begin a surface dig to last them through the pleasantly festerous summer months till once again they could adjourn to the Hunter's fireside, and with beer fuddled minds dream and talk of things they had done in ages past.  So various sites were investigated, including the old Bucket Hole site of Jok Orr's (Who?) and Wigmore Swallet.    The latter showed most promise, and the day after our

first visit, on June 21st, Tony Jarratt and Nig Taylor negotiated preliminary permission, digging starting a mere ten minutes later!

The dig is situated in a pleasantly tree-shaded depression in the coppice adjacent to the Old Wigmore Farm barn, roughly a mile north of the B3135 Frome to Cheddar road (NGR: 55715256 , Sheet ST55SE.)  An obvious dry stream-bed leads into the depression which, at the time of our first visit, was full to some six feet below the lip of the shaft.

The site was originally dug from 1934-37 by M.N.R.C. and in 1938 by the W.C.C.  At thirty feet the shaft was abandoned for no obvious reason, though the war may have caused this.  It is a six feet wide by "N" feet long in-filled rift in rock of County type, Sandstone/Conglomerate nature.  Large amounts of ochreous material and poor quality iron ores are present in the spoils.

THE PRESENT DIG: During the first few weekends the depression was cleared of nettles, scrub and general farm waste, and a cableway, hauling bucket (Ex Plantation Swallet) and a hand winch (generously loaned by the Al Mills Foundation) were installed.  An overhanging boulder was soon removed from the top of the shaft by the Mendip Chip Bang and Chisel Company's last Survivor, Mr. 'N', and Stu Lindsey erected what appeared to be a squirrel box on a nearby tree!

With a variety of diggers, mainly B.E.C. but also C.C.G., G.S.G., W.C.C. and, of course, the M.C.G., work began in earnest.  The infill included many old, but worthless bottles, dead sheep and even deader dogs, rotten shoring, etc.  Soon the hand of 'J. Arthur Rat' was to be seen erecting craftsman like walls around the spoil heaps (all above three feet so as to be put onto the next O.S. maps). At shaft bottom Ross White re-enacted his ancestors by smashing up boulders!

By the end of July we were twenty feet down, into a six by eight feet shaft.  Minor events kept the diggers entertained, a full spoil bucket missing Trevor Hughes by ¼", and the incessant inane bickering of the infamous duo, Bob Cross and Mr. N.

More unsuspecting diggers were press-ganged during the following months including Milch, and the Pitten Street team, and the M.C.G. Showband, who supplied the dig with a Villiers 250 c.c. Motor winch.  To house this mechanical marvel our resident craftsmen (?) Chris Batstone and Bob Cross constructed what at first appeared to be a sixth rate brothel in Vietnam, but later emerged to be an engine house, the seed from which grew the Wigmore Mining Company.

Now boasting the name 'Wheal Wigmore' and resplendent with tea-pot, and garden furniture erected somewhat uselessly by an equally useless Dig Carpenter the dig lowered to thirty feet.

In early August the team, and Mendip Folklore; were enriched by the addition of Snab, family and dog. The former promptly wrote two songs on the spot, whilst the latter commenced his own dig in a nearby rabbit hole. The site was now becoming somewhat of a social centre with visits from the usual Mendip horde, and fellow cavers from further a field: Ian Lewis from Australia; Linda Hastie from Canada; Mario Vitale from Italy; Stephen Kemp et al from Germany; and Jeff Philips from the Irish Caving Club (?).

More recently, latest work has concentrated on trundling vast boulders into the dig purely for the benefit of Alan Thomas who then casts spells on them for the rest of us to remove again as gravel or even bigger boulders!  Because at the depth, it became necessary to shore the sides of the excavation.  This later proved much to the disgust of Phil Ford 'The Miner' when he graced us with his presence in the late summer.

Prospective timber men, face workers stopers and grovers are requested to contact the adventurers and Old Men at the Myne.  They will be dealt with in strict rotation!!  Apologies to all not mentioned in this article, Captain J. Rat, Overseer and Maister, Wheal Wigmore, for the Wigmore Mining Company.

Access: The site is on Lord Waldegrave's land, and we are privileged to have his permission for the dig. Vehicles can cause disturbance to cattle and farm traffic.  Park on the main public road only, and walk up the farm track past the dairy to the old barn.  Only use the gates and stiles, leaving them as you found them.  Do not climb over any fences.  Also, bring 10p each for the dig fund!  It's expensive these days.

 

Acknowledgements:To Lord Waldegrave for permission to excavate the site, and; to Messrs. Majors and Thompson, and Mr. Booth for materials, assistance and bewildered understanding!

References, compiled by Nigel Taylor:

1.                  Ms. Diary, H. Murrell, 2 49 (1934) Start of old dig.

2.                  MNRC Diary/Report (27) 65 (1934) Note on dig.

3.                  Ms. Diary, H. Murrell, 131 (1935) History of dig.

4.                  MNRC Report    (28) 42 (1935) Brief excavation notes.

5.                  Thornber, Stride, Meyers, Britain Underground (1953) p.203.

6.                  7 & 8. Barrington, Caves of Mendip (1957), (1962), (1964).

7.                  10 & 11. Barrington & Stanton, Complete Caves of Mendip.  (197l), (1972), (1977).

8.                   Mendip Cave Register.

9.                  Dig Log.

10.              Gough, Hines of Mendip.

11.              Ms. Diary, A. Jarratt (1977).

12.              Ms. Diary, N. Taylor (1977).

On the facing page we are pleased to publish one of Jayrat's sketches - this one of Wigmore Entrance.


 

Jottings

compiled by Niph

Book News - Until recently Thrum’s S.R.T. book (American) has been the rope mans bible.  Now a second book on S.R.T. is on the market, this time by Montgomery (Australian) published by the Sydney Speleological Society, at £4.50 (Rocksport).  Opinions vary, but some cavers feel it is more thorough and more up to date than Thrun.

A note inside refers to a new American S. R.T. rope.  Called Pigeon Mountain Rope, it has lower stretch and higher abrasion resistance than Bluewater, but as yet no cost is available.  With so many S.R.T. ropes to choose from, it will be interesting to see if this one catches on in Britain.

Clearwell Caves, Forest of Dean.  These ancient iron mines, open to visitors are currently being re-opened on a commercial scale.  The iron ore is said to be purer than Swedish ore.  The owners are not really worried if the project is unsuccessful.  Tourists pay more than enough for the company to keep going.

N.C.A. Equipment Information.  October Extracts. 

a)       Five failures of fixed aids in caves are cited. There is little doubt that the Tyning's Barrows Swallet entrance ladders would have failed had they received much more use.  Several people are presently concerned about the state of fixed tackle in St. Cuthbert's particularly Arête ladder.  How many cavers do check fixed underground tackle before or while using it, e.g. bolts, ladders, ropes, chains, handlines, traverse lines?

b)       Rope shrinkage.  Nylon contracts with wetting and usage, up to about 15%.  All ropes, for S.R.T. particularly, should be soaked, both before initial use, and frequently thereafter, and measured carefully before a trip where exact length may be critical.

c)       Several people have been concerned over flaws, or apparent flaws, in new rope.  These show as lumps, little knots or ends, and there is no cause for concern. Bluewater, it should be noted, has no core splices, and sheath splices are only necessary in lengths of over 300ft.

d)       There may eventually be a British Standard for caving ropes.

e)       If you buy 'Marlow' rope for S.R.T., specify 'Marlow 16 plait caving rope'.  Otherwise the rope is not straight cored.

f)        A list of recent British articles on caving equipment and techniques is now available from the library.

C.S.C.C.  The new agreement on Lamb Leer has now been passed, arrangements to be organised by the SCC Co. Ltd Secretary - Tim Reynolds.

Baker's Pit, Devon may be re-opened soon, but who will dare to brave the nasty fumes and pollutants seeping in from the ever-growing dump above.

Hermann Kirchmayer, one of the Austrian visitors at the ISO Mendip Meet and known to club members who went on the international Raucher meet in 1967 said of Swildons Hole, “That’s no cave - it’s a wet and muddy mouse hole.”  He’d just been on a Troubles Round trip.

Loxton Cave:  Wells Scouts have sent their midgets into the Morgan Chambers of Loxton Cave and surveyed them.  This survey will be attached to that made by Chris Howell and will appear in a later B.B in the New Year.


 

Proping Prid

by Jane Wilson

I think we first started talking about pushing the sump in Prid. in February.  By the end of July we had run out of excuses and delaying tactics so one early morning saw a motley assortment of not so enthusiastic Speleo's looking un-longingly at the sea of cowsh at the entrance of Pridharnsleigh Cavern in Devon.

Rumour has it that Prid 2 had been dived to 130ft but had not been bottomed.  I had already blown my mind on the 'tourist trip' into the Prid 2 airbell and naively thought that an afternoons diving would sort out these confused rumours of great depth.  I persuaded Richard to keep me company so I led the dive from the rear.

It is surprising just how much gear is needed for a trip like this.  Rich decided that clad in his soopa new Unisuit he would superheat and explode if he carried much so we were delighted to find two errant Plymouth Caving Group members lurking in the bushes near the entrance.  We did not have to make too many threats before they offered to help move some of the equipment to the Lake. "But we only wanted a quite trip into Dog Hole" they pleaded a so we struggled and slithered in, with 30lb of lead (to sink the S.S. Stevenswine) fins, masks, valves, gauges, line, lights; the problems we should have had transporting Big Bertha (Siamese 60 cu. ft bottles) were solved by the amazing subhuman strength of one of the sherpas.

Having rendered 50% of cur assorted gauges and meters useless by breaking their straps and making sure that Bishop’s beam gun was not working, we plummeted down the submerged rift of Prid 1.  The vis (=visibility) dropped to about twelve inches as we churned up the mud from the walls and inch diameter white limestone chips floated past reminiscent of giant snowflakes.  Eighty feet down the line goes through a window into the vast underwater chamber of Prid 2 where the vis can be as much as 28ft and everything looks clear, clean and blue.

Rich tied on to one of the permanently fixed lines and disappeared into clouds of red brown mud. Following in the 6" vis I soon bumped into a soft red object that gesticulated in an incoherent manner. "Start again" he seemed to be trying to tell me.  We finned back to the 'base' line and repeated the performance swim - thud - confused gesticulations - back.  Silly!

Richard raised two fingers - a signal that I instantly recognised as meaning "Well if you don’t mind, I think we should be thinking about going to the pub now." He zoomed off along the fixed line, homewards.

We surfaced back in the lake again where we discovered that we had not been under long enough or deep enough to worry about decompressing.  I had plenty of air left in my 60 cu. ft bottle plus a full 40 so borrowed Richard's line.  While he looked around at the bottom of Prid 1, I went back into Two.  To my surprise, I managed to tie a bowline first time (something I cannot usually manage on the surface, un-narced) and returned to the swim - thud – routine, thus I banged into the hard white limestone. I chuntered around the wall of the chamber for a while – hand stretched out to feel the way – then paused to try to work out how much air I had left in which bottle.  I meditated on my excellent bowline coming untied and losing the way back to air, while I attempted to swim up and out of the mud.  It did not take long to realise that exploring the bottom of Prid Two was going to take more organised and concerted effort.  The deepest we had been able to get was a little over 110 ft but in such poor vis we could have easily missed a deep pot in the floor or a way though a hole in the wall.

I surfaced in the air bell of Prid Two and looked around with my failing light.  The intricately folded curtain that perhaps due to the nitrogen narcosis, I had imagined as a giant jelly fish, on the exploratory trip the day before, was not there and everything looked unfamiliar.  Was this a new section?  Feeling lonely, un-intrepid and a long way from home a cruise along the steep walled chamber, much too steep to climb out of the water.  I spotted the electron ladder leading up to the emergency supplies left in Prid Two - so I was not the intrepid cave explorer "boldly going where no man had gone before."  Rats!  I passed some time neatly crocheting the line around my aqua lungs, gags and assorted dangles but decided that there was no future in it and that it was time to go home. Returning to the fixed line, I untied and came back through the "window" and rumbled and crashed my way back up the rift.

Richard, snug and warm in his Unisuit, was already de-kitting so it was not long before I was shivering beside him, wondering why I had not invested in a new wet suit years ago. But the struggle to get the gear back to the surface through the good quality Devonian mud soon warmed us up and we all enjoyed a good cold bath in the stream before we headed home.

Conclusions - Prid One bottoms at about 100ft, not 120ft and we did not get much deeper than 110ft at the bottom of Prid Two - take a spade if you want a deeper dive.  But the sump has possibilities.

Many thanks to the sherpas. Those present: John Dukes (BEC), Geoff Lloyd (POG), Steve Mayers (POG), Phil Sadler (XPPS), Richard (as seen on TV) Stevenson (WCC & BEC), Graham Wilton-Jones (BEC) and Jane Wilson (XPPS, BEC).

 


 

International Speleological Congress 1977

The Mendip Caving Camp.

'Wig'

Following the 'core' conference at Sheffield University the 500 visitors went their various ways some home, but many, on the organised excursions and caving camps held in the caving regions.  The caving camp is a new innovation at the International meetings in the hope that the 'ordinary' caver will get involved rather than the academics.

Here on Mendip there were two excursions, hydrological and archeologically and a caving camp.  The two excursions were organised by Tim Atkinson, Pete Smart and 'Trat', aided and abetted by Chris Hawkes.  Both excursions were based at the University in Bristol and apart from laboratory demonstrations there were daily trips to places of interest on and around Mendip including a novel meal for both the hydrologists and archaeologists in the 3rd.  Chamber of Wookey Hole.  The meal was designed around a mediaeval banquet complete with hunting knives and drinking horns.  The event paid for by the show cave management and organised by Nick Barrington.

The caving camp, on the other hand was based at the Belfry, an honour indeed for the club.  As organiser for the Mendip camp the author would like to thank all those cavers who gave up their own time to take the foreign guests underground and help in the background.  Many thanks then to Martin Bishop, Chris Batstone, John Dukes Graham Wilton-Jones, Tim Large, Chris Smart, Brian Prewer, Mike Palmer, Chris (Zot) Harvey, Ross White; while from other clubs are John Letheron, Fred Davies, Don Thomson, Ian Jepson, Phil Hendy, Liz and Graham Price and last but not least Jim Hanwell and Wookey Hole Caves Management.

Cavers from West Germany, Switzerland, Austria, USA and Hungary 12 in number arrived at the Belfry during Saturday 17th September having found their way from Sheffield.  The Austrians arrived by their own transport having first gaining a glimpse of Weston-super-Mud, so did the West Germans.  The Swiss congregated at Rocksport and the Hungarians were picked up by the camp hired mini-bus doing it the hard way, walking along the Priddy straight.

Later that evening a short slide show and discussion was held the Wessex Library where Jim Hanwell gave an outline talk on the structure of Mendip and its relationship with the caves. This was followed by the necessary 'jar' in the back room of the Hunters which went very well in spite of the 'foreign wog' comment by a then principal officer of the BEC who promptly left for the main bar.

Sunday saw the visitors at Fairy Gave Quarry.  After taking three trips into Withyhill Graham Price was heard flatly refusing to take a fourth into the cave consisting of BEC members tagging along for a trip!  At the same time, Graham's wife, Liz, was trotting through Shatter Cave with the other members of the party.  The visitors were so impressed by the formations that they requested a return trip during the week, but this was not to be due to lack of FCQ leaders and time.  Sunday evening was filled in with a walk down Longwood Valley where they could see typical Mendip swallets and dig sites.  Having been picked up at Black Rock a quick run through Cheddar Gorge followed and on to Wookey Hole where Martin Bishop and Chris Batstone demonstrated the MRO Sump Rescue gear.  Inside the cave, Jim Hanwell gave a conducted tour of the show cave demonstrating his intimate knowledge of the structure of the system. Chris and Martin then demonstrated the diving equipment and dived from 3 to 9 watched by the visitors from the bridges over the 7th and 8th Chambers.  Following the inevitable visit to the Hunters a slide show was given at the Belfry from the slide collections of Brian Prewer, Don Thomson and yours truly.

During the next three days the guests were taken into GB, Longwood Swallet, Swildons , the Troubles Round Trip and Black Hole, Sludge Pit and, of course St. Cuthbert’s Swallet - Pulpit/Maypole and various photographic trips.  Hermann Kirchmayer and Helmut Planer both took a look at the Cuthbert’s sump and decided to give it a miss though they did the Round Trip in Swildons - perhaps it was a case of Hobson's after going through the wettish sections of the Swildons Upper Series.

During the evenings the events ranged from the 'serious' to the truly social.  The MRO equipment was demonstrated by various Wardens and a further visit to Cheddar Gorge having first paid a visit to the Cathedral in Wells. The grand finale was at the Hunters, in the new room where the cavers and hydrologists got together for a buffet and final beer-up.  So magnificent was the meal that the bar didn't do much trade!  In fact, there was so much food that nearly everyone took it away with them in 'piggy bags supplied by Roger and Jackie - certainly an evening to remember.

I can't end without a personal note to say how delighted I was to welcome Helmut and Helene Planer and the comedian of the camp, Hermann Kirchmayer - all three of whom are well known to BEC cavers who went to Austria in the middle 1960's on the Raucher and Ahnenschacht trips.  The next International get-together in Kentucky will be held in 1981 so start saving your new 1d's (sorry p’s) now!


 

Lifelines

by Tim Large

Unfortunately this month I start with the news that Alfie has resigned from the Committee and as a Trustee of the Club.  I am sure everyone will echo my sentiments of regret at his action.  As a result there is now a vacancy on the Club Committee. But in fact the Committee has decided to advertise for two more posts.  Therefore you could deduce that one Alfie equals two of anyone else. The reason for the second post is because Russ Jenkins is not able to attend committee meetings on a regular basis because of his shift working, but he is still prepared to continue as Climbing Sec.  Members are formally asked to contact myself or any committee member if they are interested in serving.

The Club welcomes four new members this month:

Gill Durrant, 14 St. Andrews Rd. 9 Broadstone, Dorset.
Stephen Short, 78 Greenwood Ave., Laverstock, Salisbury.
Dany Bradshaw, 37 Creswicke, Bristo1, BS4 1UF.

and last, but no means least, being a very infamous Mendip caver of many years standing: -

Stuart McManus, 33 Welsford Ave., Wells, Somerset.

The St. Cuthbert's Leaders met on 31st October at the novel venue of Cerberus Hall!  Fifteen leaders were present and the main topic discus was the question of insurance cover.  The opinion of leaders was that they are required by a committee ruling (1976) to obtain insurance cover at their own expense.  Thereby, they are subsidising the Clubs access arrangements which they consider to be somewhat unfair.  The Committee has agreed to look into the situation, but no change can be contemplated until the 1978 Club Annual Meeting.  Ted Humphries has been accepted as a Cuthbert's Leader bringing the active total to about 27, which includes 9 guest leaders from other clubs. It is hoped to publish a list in the near future.

The Club has some leaders for other controlled access caves who are: -

O.F.D.: Mike Palmer, Graham Wilton-Jones, Rich Stevenson, Andy Macgregor, Dave Irwin, Roy Bennett and Tony Meaden.

D.Y.O.: Graham Wilton-Jones and Rich Stevenson.

Fairy Cave Quarry: Mike Palmer and Dave Irwin.

NCA Matters:  On November 19th there is a meeting of CSCC when a decision will be made on proposals to be put to the NCA Annual Meeting to alter its constitution to ensure the rights of the grass roots caver and individual groups.  One particular point of contention will be the insistence of the inclusion of the veto at NCA General Meetings.  It is felt that is necessary to protect individuals and groups.  On Mendip this is particularly important where, for instance, access arrangements are negotiated by clubs with much success; training schemes are arranged locally e.g. CSCC scheme with Somerset LEA. Under no circumstances should a far removed National Body pass judgement or otherwise interfere with such local arrangements.  The local cavers are the ones to decide and nobody else.  Perhaps the NCA would do well to adopt the CSCC  motto "Live and let live."

LAST BUT NOT LEAST - A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL

From the Editorial Staffffffffffffff !!!

QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

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 request from Neddy Jenkins and Nigel Taylor.

The Caving and Climbing Secretaries are shortly going to establish a meets programme for next year. Anyone with ideas for either specific caving, climbing, walking, canoeing etc., meets or general just away meets should send their ideas to either Russell Jenkins or Nigel Taylor as soon as possible for inclusion in a Diary of Events in time for very interested member to join in.  Please send all suggestions c/o The Belfry, Wells Road, Priddy, Somerset.

Dates for your Diary:

November 12th. Priddy Niters trip to S. Wales

November 25th. St. Cuthbert's Swallet;

December 9th. Longwood. (Further details available from Richard Kenney, 'Yennek', St. Mary's Road, Meare, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9SS. Tel. Meare Heath 296.

December 10th. BORA  Winter Meeting.  Hunters Lodge (back room) 9-4p.m.  Provisional programme:

·        'Water Pollution' - Dave Maneley (SMOC)

·        ' Iran, 1977' - speaker to be announced;

These lectures will be followed by a Buffet Supper at 7 p.m.

Price (for meal only) £2.75.  Bookings to Bryan Ellis, 30 Main Road Westonzoyland, Bridgwater, Somerset, by December 3rd, 1977.

Following the meeting, at 8.30, Jerry Wooldridge will be showing his slide sequences of Fairy Cave Quarry and La Cigaliere.

March 11th 1978, BCRA Symposium - Cave Photography, UMIST, Manchester.

Further club meets:

Nov.19th. Oxlow - Giants - contact John Dukes for details.

Nov. 20th. Peak Cavern - details from Martin Grass

Nov. 26th. and Nov. 27th. North Wales - contact John Dukes or Graham Wilton-Jones.

Jan. 8th White Scar Cave - details from Martin Grass.

Next month in the BB:-

Juniper Gulf by Nick Thorne

New cave in South Wales

Diving in Pridhamsleigh, Devon - Jane Wilson

+ many other shorter features     .


 

'Jottings'

- a Monthly Miscellany

compiled by Niph

OTTER HOLE is to be gated shortly.  Key and information from John Courte, Trenchard Cott., The Mire, Joyford, Nr. Coleford, Glos. Telephone: Coleford 2565. (6-7 p.m.) Surveyed length 8,000ft; total est. length 12,000ft.

You can't take them anywhere!  When Jane Wilson was window gazing in Buckfastleigh recently a local woman commented to her about JD and G.W-J "Wouldn't like to meet those two on a dark night."

TYNINGS BARROWS SWALLET.  This recently discovered cave is currently blocked 'by the' influx of more liquid mud below the 2nd. Pitch.  A further complication is that the farm has been sold.  Martin Bishop intends to visit the new owner and re-negotiate access and arrange digging parties to re-open the system.  Enthusiastic diggers urgently required – phone Martin for dates. Tel., Priddy 370.

SWILDONS HOLE. A recent trip through the Troubles by the Hon. Sec. proved wetter than usual.  Whereas the Mud Sump was virtually dry, Troubles passable without bailing, the squeeze into Doomed Grotto was nearly sumped making life very interesting.  Also the first wet dig from Glistening Gallery was a virtual sump, being a case of on your back with helmet off!

Another route from Vicarage Passage to the '2' streamway has been recently reopened by WOC. coming out into the streamway opposite the Landing.

S. Wales.  The Mendip grapevine is alive with news of a large cave system on the Aggie side of the Clydach Gorge near Brynmawr.  Opened apparently about March this year, the surveyed length is 4.75 miles, wet (floodable) entrance passage leading to a massive passage, with good formations. Reliable reports say that sections of the cave include the largest passage discovered in the UK.  More details in the December BB following a trip into it by a couple of local cavers on the 23rd. October.  Access notes will follow - at the moment as you will guess; access is very limited. Working parties only.

International Speleo. Congress - post congress caving camp.  The visit of a dozen foreign cavers to the Belfry enlisted support from many local cavers.  Included amongst them was ZOT who arrived minus gear, but in the usual Zottie manner managed to acquire a complete set of gear and accompanied our foreign friends down Cuthbert’s.  Thanks Zot, don’t let it happen too often or else you might set a bad image!  Full report will appear in the December BB.

LAMB LEER  It has recently become necessary to formulate a new agreement with Somerset County Council to secure access to this cave. Unfortunately the SCC require a large rental; initially £250 based on 500 cavers visiting the system per year at 5Op/head.  The matter was discussed by the member clubs of CSCC and they were prepared to let the cave be closed rather than pay such a large sum that would obviously set a precedent and sending caving costs sky-high.  Tim Reynolds and Oliver Lloyd met representatives of SCC and have now secured a rental of about £30 per year.  The final details of the agreement are not yet known, but it is hoped to inform members in the near future.

MIDWEEK CAVING. Many will remember the Tuesday Night Caving Group and its activities.  Tim Large regularly caves on Wednesday evenings and would like to hear from anyone interested in joining him.  Unlike the TNCG, it is hoped to visit a variety of caves, including digging at various sites.  If you are interested phone Tim (Radstock 4211) or meet at the Belfry, 7 pm.

AGGY - new survey published by BORA, 60p (available from Bryan Ellis). Surveyed length 15.5 miles and 490ft deep.  Applications for access permits and key from: P. Larbalestier, 46 Llanyravon Way, Cwymbran, Gwent. NP4 2HW.


 

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir,

May I take up some the B.B. space to reply to the points raised by Kangy about the Well article.

Kangy was right in thinking that we wanted to use S.R.T for its own sake, but he was wrong to assume that ladders were not considered.  Graham and I gave a great deal of thought to how we should tackle this job, and we came down on the side of ropes for the following reasons.

Firstly we were both very unwilling to attempt a 330ft. ladder pitch without some practice before hand. It is a long time since I did a big pitch and Graham has only done big pitches on ropes.

Bearing the above point in mind and the fact that there were only two of us who would do the lifelining? I had already been involved in a well rescue some time ago.  On this occasion I used ladders and the local fire brigade did the lifelining; trying to go down while they pulled up is not funny, likewise coming up while the rope went down does not instil confidence.  I did not fancy this sort of thing at 300ft.  I also knew that it would take two people at the bottom to retrieve the dog.  Therefore two lads on the bottom of the ladder with no experienced people at the top did not appear very safe.  We also thought that the ladder would need a belay half way down so one would have required an Acrow.

The last reason was purely financial, in that we only have 225ft. of ladder in Wycombe and did not fancy a trip to Mendip for the rest.

I would agree with Kangy that the ladder is an adaptable tool and should always be considered as it will be the best thing to use in some cases.

I have been down a number of wells in this area varying from 30 to 330ft.  They have all been dug by hand through the top soil and down into the rock chalk.  The diameters have all been approx. 5-6ft.  The reason for this diameter became clear when I was able to observe a local well being dug deeper because it dried up in last years draught.  The 5-6ft. dia. is just right to give comfortable working room without removing extra spoil.  It would seem that 2-3 ft depth could be gained each day through the rock chalk.  All the wells I have seen have the top section with brickwork or dry stone walls. The depth of this is dependant on the surrounding top soil; as soon as the well is in rock, chalk the walls become self supporting.

I have only one point to make.  Graham only handed in the article, I wrote it!

'Buckett'
High Wycombe, 14 Sept.

_______________________________

Odds and Sods

The CNCC has negotiated a Personal accident Scheme for mem¬ber clubs of CNCC at £4.50 per head providing there are at least 2,500 people in the scheme.  Benefits include £5,000 for death, loss of limbs or sight and £50 per week for 1 year (excluding first 28 days) temporary total disability. They are hoping to extend the cover for overseas trips for an extra fee of a couple of pounds.  Details from J. J. Clegg; Whernsiide Manor, Dent, Sedburgh, Cumbria.

Films of Alum, White Scar, Pippikin, Prov-Dow and Lancaster- Easgill will be shown on BBC Television in the near future - watch the Radio Times.


 

Arctic Norway 1977.

by Graham Wilton-Jones.

This summer I forsook the Pyrenees, and the heat, dust and flies of the South of France, and headed North, for the Arctic.  Was it different?  Was there snow everywhere and were temperatures below freezing?  No!  We had heat, dust and flies, or at least, mosquitoes.  Really it was all a plot to keep an eye on the W.S.G. expedition to Norway, and to prove that the B.E.C. does, indeed, get everywhere.  It was good to be completely out of the organisation side, and be able to just concentrate on the caving.

It was decided to spend a couple of days getting to Newcastle, which proved a wise decision.  After a highly effervescent barrel on Friday July 29th. we packed the vehicles (W.S.G. minibus and one of their member's Cortina estate) on the Saturday morning.  The bus was loaded within limits, but the car's springs were bent the wrong way by the weight.  We stopped beside Ripon race¬course overnight.  On the way north in the morning the Cortina's clutch fell to bits. Fortunately we had two spare clutches with us ( Norway's minor roads have a certain notoriety) and a new one was on in two hours.

The ferry journey was notable for sleepy cavers being moved around from deck to deck in the middle of the night, and being thrown off (the decks, not the ferry) at five in the morning for the washing of decks.  We arrived in Bergen to rain.  I'm told it always rains in Bergen. Night was spent in a lay-by just short of Voss, and the following two days were mainly continuous travelling for thirty two hours.  Over the Sognefiord, deepest in Norway at 1244 metres, we headed across the Jotunheimen range to the E6. The twisting, mountain roads are largely un-metalled, and were quite a surprise for our poor old vehicles.  We reached the top of the Jotunheim just before a storm arrived, and managed to take a few photographs of its impressive ruggedness, emptiness and vastness.  The E6 is a good, fairly fast road, and we reached Mo-i-Rana, just outside the Arctic, late on Wednesday afternoon.  There we stayed in a small 'Rom' - sixteen of us in a place about the size of the old stone Belfry with an upstairs.  Some of us camped, and there was plenty of barn space for drying equipment.

Our first cave was Jordbrugrotten.  A good track led from the E6, close by our base, along the Plurdal (valley of the Plura River).  Some distance along this an underground river cascades from the middle of a cliff and flows into the Plura.  This is the Jordbrugrotten resurgence - the Sprutfossen.  Having found it, we spent much time clambering about through birch, alder and miscellaneous undergrowth to reach the belay directly above, at the cliff top.  We laddered or abseiled, according to choice, down to a wide shelf next to Sprutfossen, and swung into the cave.  Here and O.F.D. size stream flows along a large, whitish marble walled passage, down cascades and under great block and sheets of ice.  Frost shattering is very evident near the surface, close to the resurgence.  Here and there bands of insoluble mica-schist jut out from the walls, much like chert would in Britain.  The walls are mostly very smooth, and the off-white is broken by parallel bands of darker colouring.  A howling, icy draught blows through the system, so it was easy to find the bedding-plane crawl that by-passed the sump.  Beyond, the plunge pools were deeper, and we finally turned back at an awkward climb in a tributary streamway, just above an impressive 9m waterfall where the mainstream enters.  The exit was interesting, swinging off the ledge at Sprutfossen out into the void. Although we had been only a short time underground, by the time we were all back at the Rom it was dark.  It had been getting that way as people were climbing out of the cave, but dusk lasts a long time that far north.  On ladder was dropped off the top of the cliff, and was found some days later several hundred metres downstream, having been washed that distance, including through l00m of stream cave below Sprutfossen, by flooding.

Friday dawned (around 4 a.m.) fine and warm.  Much later we headed north along the Rovasdal for about 10 km.  From a vague point off the track we off-loaded the minibus and walked up a path through the steep forest slopes towards Reingardslivatn (vatn = lake).  Within sight of the lake is Lapphullet, a 1,000m long system on two, sometimes three levels.  The system is largely phreatic, with some areas of breakdown. In many places there are exposures of insoluble mica schist - differential erosion causing these to be left projecting as blades, girders and tubes on the roof or walls of the passage. We spent two hours looking at most of this system, including exploring some virgin territory of bedding planes and muddy passages around the middle of the system.  The ice marked on the survey at the end of Wilf's passage has now retreated leaving a few small icicles in a choke of pebbles and boulders.

Emerging from Lapphullet, we went off in search of its neighbour, Larshullet.  The forest here is of small, stunted or dead birch trees, the lumpy karst being overgrown with a riot of bright flowers, especially geraniums. Branches and twigs, both live and dead, lay haphazardly all over the ground making progress very awkward. There are numerous holes in the limestone, mainly small and inaccessible, or requiring digging.  A few of the caves in this region are gated and marked 'FREDET' - protected.  Having found the largest one of these, we confirmed that it was Larshullet using a photograph from the C.R.G. book.

This cave is considerably larger than the previous one, being 2½ km long and 326m deep.  Most of this depth is gained by a steady descent throughout the cave, only a 23m shaft near the bottom requiring tackle.  The entrance passages have impressive, sharply folded (ptygmatic) quartz veins from around which the marble has been corroded. At one point the entire passage is formed in a tube of quartz, from within which the marble has been dissolved, giving a very unnatural appearance.  Further down, where the passage takes on the dimensions of a motorway tunnel, the walls are lined with parallel intrusions of mica schist and quartz, looking remarkably as if someone has carefully lined the gallery with polished, straight grained wood.

While one group went to the head of the 23m shaft, another group took several photographs in the entrance series.  Near the entrance itself there are some ice formations, and a small stream of ice on the floor peters out when the temperature rises just above freezing, some 50m from the entrance.  300m in a small stream flows from the roof and on down to the bottom of the cave. Wet suits are not necessary, and dry grots were sufficient to keep us warm except when hanging around for photos. We were all out within two hours, which indicates how easy the cave is in spite of its considerable depth.

So as not to give us too much of a good thing it rained on Saturday, not too hard but consistently, out of a low cloud.  In the morning we drove out along some of the tracks towards Glomdalen, a major caving area, to make contact with David and Shirley St. Pierre and the Norwegian cavers. On the way the minibus decided to part company with the road (I was not driving at the time!).  Fortunately there were sixteen of us with it at the time, and the road was only soft sand and gravel, so we dug it up, made a ramp, drove the van completely down the bank onto the marsh below and back up the ramp. Apparently it happens all the time in Norway.

Later, much later, we arrived back at Gronligrotten, where it was still raining.  This cave is well known in the area, and is essentially a sporting show cave.  Visitors can either be guided through a small section of the cave by young, pretty Norwegian girls, or can make their own explorations (or maybe both!). Expeditions, like us, go without the guides, but it's free.  There is a dry, sand-floored upper series, joined at certain points by a rather fine, if small, streamway.  The tourist section has occasional gang-planks and short ladders, and some thin, fractured bedding in the roof is held up by ineffective iron girders and a lot of faith.  The way is lit by naked bulbs.

We, of course, explored virtually everywhere, especially the rushing stream¬way, which seemed a lot bigger once YOU were in it.  Differential erosion has produced many sharp shelves in the stream passages so it is fairly easy going.  Several of us finished our explorations long before the photographic team, so we returned to the van for a bite to eat.  There was still no sign of the others when the guides came down and headed for home, leaving an ominous notice (in Norwegian and English) ‘The cave is closed because it is overflowed!’  Later, the photographic team reported that it had been quite exciting in the stream. Anyway, we hadn't really been worried.

In the evening six of us moved up to Svartis Vatnet to camp there overnight.  The following morning we travelled by boat along the lake, saving several hours of difficult walking through steeply sloping birch woods by the side of the lake, and disembarked on the very bare rocks at the other end.  At the turn of the century the Svartisen glacier, second largest in Norway, used to reach right down into the lake, but has retreated well over a kilometre since that time.  The rate of retreat is very variable, but is at present about 30m per year. Paint marks on the rocks indicate the position of the snout of the glacier at different times, all measured in the summer months.  It was particularly interesting to see a paint mark made exactly one year previously. Changes in the shape and size of the glacier are so rapid now that it has been necessary to construct a mile long tunnel underneath the glacier, this tongue of which is called Austerdalsisen, to continually drain the lake beyond.  Some years, ago the glacial lake broke through an ice barrier and destroyed many houses miles away down the valley.  Hopefully, the threat of a recurrence of this has now been averted.

On the glacier crampons and ice axes were necessary.  The ice surface was pitted and broken with minute fissures, but was, nevertheless, hard and slippery, and well endowed with crevasses, up to about 25m depth and often too wide to jump.  There was no snow, so all the crevasses were visible from some distance and it was not necessary to rope up.  At first, on the edge of the glacier where the ice was thin, it was dirty with a veneer of mud, black and very wet, but higher up on the tongue the ice was a clean grey-blue.  A couple of heavy showers passed us by, except for a few drops, and most of the day was bright and warm.  The ice glared, reflecting most of the light and much of the heat, though it soon became chilly if clouds covered the sun.  Every¬where around us, and sometimes beneath us, the sound of streams echoed.  Many super-glacial streams ran for some distance before gurgling down into the deep blue-blackness of ice rifts and potholes, while others tumbled down crevasses, gradually enlarging them more and more.

As we made our way towards the ice-fall crevasses became more and more frequent, and we were slowed down considerably, or headed off from our intended course.  Due to this, and to lack of time, we never reached any real seracs, having to turn back just below the main ice-fall.  We returned via the outfall edge of the glacier tongue, where there were some of the largest crevasses.  We had taken full S.R.T. gear and a length of blue water, and so were able to drop one of these.  The intense blue of the ice deep down, the wind scallops on the crevasse walls, and the patterns of little bubbles within the ice were all features new to me, and I found them fascinating.

Beyond the large crevasses the ice was so littered with moraine of all sizes, from fine gravel up to large boulders of various sorts that it was difficult to tell glacier from solid ground.  Here the ice was dirty all the way through, and looked like the surrounding rocks. Below us an impressive river roared out from beneath the glacier.  We eventually dropped off the glacier above an ice cave, which was filled with rushing waters and a deep blue light.  We did not stop long - the sound of ice cracking when you are underneath is not inspiring or inviting.  Returning to a wet camp, we packed up the tents and headed for Mo.

On Monday we loaded up the vehicles again, 100 lbs heavier now with fermenting beer, and headed up into the Arctic.  Around the Arctic Circle, well marked at the E6, with a cafe and souvenir shop, and even white lines across the road, the woods gave way to more tundra like scenery, such as we had seen in the Jotunheimen.  However, a little further north the woods took over once more on the hills, though the mountains looked more rugged and bleak, with larger patches of snow on lower slopes.  At about latitude 68o north we left the main road, to Drag, on the Tysfiord, and then drove up the fiord to Helland, where we bivouacked overnight. Just about everyone took photographs of the sky at midnight, with the sun just below the horizon.  There was a very heavy dew, but the sun rose early (2.30 a.m.) and my sleeping bag had dried off by 5 a.m.

The boat to take us further up the fiord, to Musken, without the vehicles, was due at 7.15, so we were all up at 6.00.  Thus chaos almost reigned when the boat turned up at 6.05 to leave in ten minutes. A very harassed and slightly impatient captain watched, rather helplessly, as we filled the deck of his boat with all manner of nameless and unidentifiable (to him and his fellows) equipment.  Needless to say, in all the rush, one or two things were forgotten.  On arrival in Husken, Big Jim (Cerberus) was dispatched on the returning ferry to collect this, gear. "He should be back on the afternoon ferry," we thought.  The ferry came very late in the evening.  Jim said nothing.

We had travelled this far north in order to do the deepest through trip in Northern Europe - Ragge Javre Raige.  The top entrances are near the top of Musken mountain, and the bottom entrances are down at or near fiord level.  Of the three lower entrances, one is a submerged resurgence, from which the cave's fresh water bubbles up into the salt water of the fiord; another, just above this resurgence, is a cleft which draughts very strongly with a freezing air that can be felt from a boat in the fiord, but a short distance inside the way on divides and becomes narrow; the third, the main exit from the system, is 114m above fiord level.  It emerges from an icy cleft onto a narrow shelf in a cliff face.

Kendal Caving Club did much of the original exploration of Ragge, and concluded by reaching the bottom entrance and making the survey.  Unfortunately they had to go all the way back up through the cave again, de-tackling en route.  Norwegian cavers, who are few but hard, did the first through trip in a time of 17 hours. When they reached the exit they climbed back up the outside of the mountain; which climb they said was considerably harder than the cave itself.  We intended to go one better, by abseiling through the cave and down at the bottom into a boat.  It was therefore fairly important that we locate the bottom exit before the trip, so that our boatman waited in the right place!

We had borrowed the S.W.C.C. rubber dinghy and an outboard, and spent most of the day transporting gear across the fiord to Segleneset, from which point the easiest route up Nusken mountain runs.  We also scrutinised the edge of the fiord.  The resurgence and the draughting hole were easy to find, but the main exit remained thoroughly concealed in the trees.  Ragge lies in a narrow belt of marble which dips at about 45°.  Bands of marble were sharply defined on the opposite wall of the fiord, but were difficult to spot on our side, from close to - all the rocks appeared very similar in colour.  Our boatman would just have to sit out in the fiord and wait until he saw light or heard our shouts from on high.

On Wednesday morning Paul, a boat owner we had befriended, took 12 of us, plus further equipment, plus the dinghy, over to Seglneset.  This saved at least two slow and overloaded journeys in the dinghy, and very soon we were scrambling our various routes up the steep, wooded mountainside.  500 - 600m up the woods finally gave way to rock with grassy and mossy patches, and over the final climb we looked down on the hanging valley where Ragge begins.  There were several melting snow patches feeding the little stream which trickled over the grassy floor before disappearing into Bumperhullet.  Memories of the photographs in Norsk Grotteblad I made the, location of Ragge a simple task, its two, strongly in-draughting entrances being up on the south east side of the valley.

We had divided into two teams - 7 of us to do the complete through trip and 5 to come as far as the top of the big pitch, de-tackle this and go back down the mountain.  After a brew up of soup we set off into the cave at about 2 p.m.  The floor is sandy and dry at first, and level, but soon drops away, down a series of parallel pitches, towards the stream.  One of these pitches was laddered initially but an awkward free climb was found to avoid this.  So far we had come down about 25m.  The next pitch, the Inclined Rift, dropped down to 102m., taking a large stream with it. We climbed down parallel to the stream and a few metres from it.  The climb was a little awkward at the bottom (we had belayed a rope at the top, but it just ran out at this point) though it was possible to stand up and reach out to the roof in order to traverse down the steep (70o – 80o) slope.  At the bottom we were into a low section with a 'Swildons' in spate' size stream, where we actually got our dry gear wet, up to the knees.  That was the wettest we got.  Round the corner the stream rushes down another inclined rift and into a vertical pot of nearly 150m full of rushing, white water.  We traversed over the top of this via the straight forward 'Wolf Walk', where a rope was handy for the gear, and climbed down a steep, muddy rift to the head of the Big Pitch - Storstupet ¬139m.  This is dry; sloping in several places, and descends next to the wet pot.  While the pitch was being rigged another brew was on the go - very welcome considering the low temperature of the cave (20 - 30 C).

The rigging was hopeless. Instead of someone descending with the main bulk of the rope in a bag, feeding it out as they went, part of it was coiled and then thrown over the edge of the pitch.  150m of rope is a lot and, quite naturally it tangled itself into intricate knots on the way down, and caught itself on just about every projection.  It took 2½ hours to clear this knitting, when the whole pitch should have taken seven of us no more than 15 minutes.  Fortunately we had a telephone with us, which helped morale a great deal during all the hanging about, and once the pitch was properly rigged it was invaluable in communicating from top to bottom.  The rope is rarely away from the wall, and abseiling basically involves walking or running down the wall.  For the first 50m there is a huge rock window through which the wet pitch can be seen. At the bottom the water from this appears again, briefly, but soon vanishes for good underneath the large boulders.  However, the base of the pitch is filled with the noise of water, with spray and with turbulent winds.

Two of us went on to rig the next pitch for rappel, but could find no convenient belay for this. The top section was easily free-climbable, being the sloping base of an enormous vertical aven, but the last section was awkward.  We all used the rope for this except the last man, who let down the rope and free-climbed the whole pitch, albeit gingerly.  The small trickle that had been with us since the base of Storstupet went down a hale in the floor the but, for the moment, we continued straight ahead along a passage with a virgin dusty-dry floor.  We arrived at the head of a l00+m pitch with an aven disappearing into the blackness above.  The passage we had 'explored' was, in fact on the survey.  I guess that in winter heavy drip obliterates any foot-prints up and in summer the cold, but powerful draught dries out the mud completely.  We found no drip anywhere in the cave.  We returned to the hole in the floor - Razor Passage.  This descends extremely steeply (I used a lifeline on one section) through the marble. Elsewhere in the cave the marble has been worn entirely away, but here the walls, roof and floor are of marble, and the walls consist of parallel lines of sharp, projecting bands where the layers of rock are of varying hardness and have been differentially eroded. We then reached the Litlstupet, which is the lower part of the l00+m. pitch mentioned above.  Norwegian tethers were still in place here, and were in good condition, so decided to use them for the rappel belays.  The first bit of this pitch is 13m to a broad, sloping ledge, and was soon over.  The second part, also with a Norwegian belay, is 39m and free-hanging - a really nice pitch. We should have taken more notice of the Norwegian comment, that it is difficult to retrieve the rope from this pitch after rappel, because it was.  Even with three of us hanging on one end it would not budge, and eventually someone had to prusik back up, sort out the jam, and descend keeping the two lines apart to prevent them from tangling.

The landing from this pitch is among large boulders, of the loose and the way on is following the draught down through a long, loose, but easy boulder choke.  Someone kicked some particularly large and vicious ones at me, but I escaped to tell you this thrilling tale.  The end of the cave became a little confusing.  It drops down to a final depth of 575m but the exit is a 523m.  We met with some large ice blocks (the first ice we have seen in the cave) which had fallen from an alcove where further ice blocks were precariously perched.  The draught seemed to be diminished, but I followed it on downwards until it blew up a smooth walled aven.  The route onwards was, in fact, up into the alcove and into a concealed passage behind or around an enormous block.  The ice formations increased with an ice floor and ice pillars, and suddenly we were out, seven of us perched on a narrow lodge overlooking the fiord.  It was half past midnight, and twilight, but becoming lighter, but becoming lighter all the time. Using trees as belays we rappelled down the fiord slope through the trees.  Soon after the dinghy arrived, but our boatman took a lot or persuading to keep away from the cliff, until boulders bounced down the slope into the depths of the fiord, all around him.  One of these boulders was a helmet and carbide light, while another was a knapsack full of fairly valuable equipment.  Though the former was recovered from an underwater shelf using a fishing line later that day, the knapsack must have gone to greater depths. Once we had all rappelled into the dinghy - very close to the resurgence and the draughting cleft as it so happened, we headed back to camp.  It had been a long day.

The rest of the day, after a short sleep, was spent exploring the locality.  The following day we fished in the fiord, unsuccessfully, and packed up the gear ready for the ferry in the evening.  Once back at Helland we quickly packed the vehicles and set off for Bodo, where we bivouacked in the Gildeskal ferry car-park.  We crossed to the islands of the Gildeskal area, just to the north of the Arctic Circle, in the morning, and drove to Inndyr where we met up with the Norwegian cavers, et al. We joined in their mini-symposium at the local school, and exchanged ideas and information.  We were to stay in the school overnight, so we opened up one of the five gallon containers of beer, but it still wasn't ready.  In the evening many of the locals turned up on invitation, to hear what caving was all about, and what was going on in the area. Good for public relations, thought I.

We moved out of the school in the morning, and set up a base camp a few kilometres away, not far from the road and beside a stream, below the Cave of the Lost Waters.  This is now known as Greftkjelen, since David Heap's name for it translated as cave of the loose waters.  The cave is near the end of a beautifully situated hanging valley, from the lip of which there are expansive views, even as far ss the Lofoten Islands, over 160km away.  Further up the same valley is Greftsprekl, while beyond this is a sink and then a substantial lake.  All these are hydrologically one system, but the mysteries thereof have not yet been unravelled.  Most of the Norwegians had set up their camp by the lake previously, and both caves were already partially rigged.  While one group set off to carry out some exploration of Greftkjelen, from which a link up with Greftsprekl is immanent, some of us decided to attack the resurgence. This, we were told, was obvious, it draughted strongly, and a way on could be seen through the boulders, which needed a little digging.  We found the resurgence by a scree slope of thousands of tons of various sizes and types of boulders, created by road¬ building works.  We easily moved a couple of boulders and were in, but among more loose boulders.  After much probing and prevaricating we began to wonder if these loose boulders were also the products of road making.  Investigating up above the road I found a small sink in the sands and gravels. Could this be the same water as our resurgence?  We searched further a field down below the road.  Sure enough, there was a second resurgence, and soon after we found yet a third.  Confused, we temporarily gave up.

Wandering back to camp we chanced upon one of our number coming down the hill, carrying lots of little bottles.  He was to take some samples from the resurgence when some dye came through from the sink, to be put there by one the Norwegians.  I hurried back to camp to check which was the correct resurgence. Much later, waiting for dye to emerge, I had a long chat with a local farmer.  At least, he spoke Norwegian and I spoke English, but we managed.  It transpired that, in his youth he used to fish for trout in the now non-existent pools of the resurgence, when the water was half a metre higher and a wind used to blow outwards.  It seems the road-building upset everything.

On Monday four of us climbed up to the hanging valley to do Greftkjelen, while another group went into Greftsprekl.  The Kendal C.C. survey of the former shows a long slope of snow stretching to nearly l00m deep into the cave.  However, this has been rapidly melting in recent years (perhaps, we thought, because of the stopping of the draught by the road-building) so that now there is a short, earthy slope, a snow slope where a hand line is useful, 25m pitch, a further short snow slope and a 30m pitch.  The passage then continues as a roomy, winding rift under a roof of snow, then down a short pitch into further, larger passage with a small stream. Where it becomes low we climbed out of the stream passage into a dry, often sandy-floored series.  Still the passages were large (Lapphullet was the only cave with a fair amount of hands-and-knees work, most of the others being dominated by at least walking size passage.  However, I think this was because we only did some of the larger systems) and the sandy floors are generally unspoilt by the passage of cavers. We were, in fact, only the third party to go to the bottom of Groftkjelen.  About half way down we negotiated the BOULDER CHOKE – a half a dozen boulders lodged in a rift which we descended.  In this region is a beautiful horizontal, but inclined in section, rift, with a hardly disturbed veneer of fine sand on the wall/floor.  Also here, and at the base of the final pitch, are some very fine stalactite formations, resembling a cross between helictites and splash globule formations, some looking like little trees and bushes. Near the present end of the cave the passage size diminishes a little, and there are even one or two roomy crawls. Big pools appear on the floor (we did not have wet-suits, and some of the pools were deep and difficult to avoid) a rushing inlet comes in from the roof, and the resultant stream disappears under a boulder choke.  A black space had been seen beyond this, and we were suitably armed with lump hammer and jemmy.  I sat back awhile for others to remove quantities of stones and boulders, and then forced one of the tightest squeezes I have ever been in.  Unfortunately, after only a further 30m, having joined up with the water once again, the passage narrowed and lowered, and the water disappeared down an impassable slot.  We estimated the total depth of the system to be in the region of 250m, rather than Heap's 300+m.  On the way out we met up with various other people, so together we photographed and de-tackled as far as the big pitches by the snow.  Various members of the party had been underground for between 10 and 12 hours.  The journey back down to camp, along a ridge and down through the now familiar scenery of birch scrub with bilberry and cloudberry undergrowth, took only 30 minutes, even though we went wrong in the dim light.

Tuesday saw a couple of us back at Greftkjelen to complete the de-tackling, while another party were doing the same job in Greftsprekl.  We had laddered and self-lifelined on all the pitches, so there was a large amount of tackle to be brought out, including some Norwegian tackle we had christened 'Elephant ladder' for obvious reasons.  One or two of the piton belays disarmingly almost fell out, but the 'dead-boy' back up in the snow slope had been excellent.  Working on the snow slope was hard, cold and tiring, and I was glad to be back on the surface after a couple of hours.

I thought it would be a good idea to lower the tackle from the top directly down to the woods just above the road, so we took a substantial amount of gear from the two cave entrances to the lip of the hanging valley, and I abseiled down a gulley in the cliffs.  A five minute scramble down through the woods and I was on the road.  I walked up to the camp, and drove the minibus down meet the others descending.  At camp the other five gallon container of beer had been opened, and it was good, and so was the evening that followed.

Round about midnight two people were dispatched to the top yet again, to gather up the rest of the gear from the cave entrances, bring it to the lip the valley, and lower it down. A little later on I went out with another group to show them where the end of the rope was.  Once there we waited and waited but there was no sign of the lowering party on the top, so I climbed up the cliffs (rather hairy) to find no people but lots of tackle.  Using the rope pulled up a telephone line and telephone, explained the situation, and re¬sited the rope to a better lowering position.  Meanwhile, back at the bottom the lowering party appeared.  They had met somebody coming down, they said, and there was no gear left on the top.  No, I thought, looking around me at the life-size images of 200m of ladder, 600m of rope, pitons, krabs, ammo boxes, etc., etc.  Nothing left at all!  Having lowered it all down, using the very useful telephone link with the bottom, I was informed that there was definitely nothing left at the cave entrances, so I went to have a look.  Hare life-size images - about as many as before, plus wet-suits and S.R.T. gear, and a HUGE tent.  I swore quietly, and began carting some of it to the edge.  I swore into the telephone and lowered the extra gear down.  I then rappelled down myself, my spirits slowly rising with the early morning sun.

It was not worth trying to get any sleep, as we had a series of ferries to catch through the islands and fiords down the coast.  We therefore began to pack up camp, waking everyone else up around six.  Travelling by ferry along the Norwegian coast is a beautiful way to spend the end of an expedition: relaxing among the magnificent scenery, and driving only short distances between boats.  We relaxed while we could.  Beyond the ferries we till had 1000 miles of driving to do.

Altogether it had been a very enjoyable and successful expedition.  Like most trips of this kind, plans had had to be altered, and we did not manage to do everything we might have hoped, but the main objectives were achieved.

The trips into Ragge Javre Raige and the Greftkjelen-Greftsprekl system been particularly noteworthy and memorable. I hope that, one say, shall be going there again.

References:

1.         C.R.G.  Transactions, vol. 11, No. 1, March 1969, p. 57.

2.         C.R.G.  Transactions, vol. 11, No. 1, March 1969, p. 17 ff.

3.         C.R.G.  Transactions, vol. 11, No. 1, March 1969, p. 17 ff.

4.         C.R.G.  Transactions, vol. 11, No. 1, March 1969, p. 12 ff.

5.         Norsk Grotteblad 1, 1976.

Atlas des Grands Gouffres du Monde, P. Courbon, 1972

Descent No., 1

S.W.E.T.C.C.C. also have some excellent publications on caves of Norway.

*****************************************

Review.

SWETC Caving Club - EXPEDITION TO NORWAY, 1974

Occasional Publication No. 4, 1977, Ed.  T. Faulkner & S. St. Pierre.

Published by SWETC Caving Club, North East London Polytechnic. £0.40.

Knowing the experience that SWETC Caving Club have of Norwegian caves, and the at publications and articles by various of their members, this sizable and meaty work comes as no surprise.  So much have SWETC C.C. become an authority on Norway that this publication, with their others, forms a standard reference work for anyon¬e contemplating visiting Norwegian caving regions.

Of the 70 pages of A4, no less than 41 are surveys and maps, and 31 are detailed descriptions of caves and caving areas.  There is also a brief supplement concerning the 1976 expedition.  In our copy at least, the quality of the printing does not always match the quality of the consents, one of the faults of farming out the production to different people over the space of three years. Occasional references within the text have been omitted or confused, for the same reason.

Considering that only ten days were spent in actual exploration, SWETC C.C. have managed to be commendably thorough.  All sites listed have grid reference locations (longitudes are measured from Oslo - see the important note on p. 4) altitudes, lengths and depths.  There are brief geological and geomorphological descriptions where these are relevant, together with general, put more thorough descriptions for the caver. Occasionally the description for finding a particular cave is under the heading for the previous cave, with which it may be associated, but if using this publication in the field one would no doubt read a whole section on one area together, thus avoiding this confusion. At the beginning of each section there is a description of the area involved, including geology, geomorphology and hydrology, where these are known.

The maps scattered throughout are invaluable.  Caves in Norway are equally well scattered, and could otherwise be impossible to locate – SWETC C.C. could not even re-find one of their own discoveries.

Having used the SWETC C.C. publications before in Norway, I shall not hesitate to add this to the list of essential books for any future expedition, if the Wig allows it out of the library!

 


Bristol Exploration Club - Membership List November 1977

828 Nicolette Abell               Michaelmas Cottage, Faulkland, Bath

879 T. Andrews                    43 Portway, Wells, Somerset

20 L Bob Bagshaw               699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol, Avon

392 L Mike Baker                 10 Riverside Walk, Midsomer Norton, Bath, Avon

913 Ken Baker                     36 Northumberland Road, Redland, Bristol

901 Richard Barker               6a Collingwood Drive, Redland, Bristol

295 Arthur Ball                     4 Charlotte Street, Cheadle, Cheshire

892 Marlon Barlow                93 Norton Drove, Norton Tower, Halifax, West Yorkshire

818 Chris Batstone               8 Prospect Place, Bathford, Bath, Avon

390 L Joan Bennett               8 Radnor Road, Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol

214 L Roy Bennett                8 Radnor Road, Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol

860 Glenys Beszant             190 Hinkler Road, Thornhill, Southampton.

731 Bob Bidmead                 63 Cassell Road, Fishponds, Bristol

720 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

883 Brian Bowers                 44 Manor Way, Bagshot, Surrey

751 L T.A. Brookes               87 Wyatt Road, London, SW2

891 Neil Raynor Brown          25 Lingfield Park, Evesham, Worcs.

687 Viv Brown                      3 Cross Street, Kingswood, Bristol

756 Tessa Burt                     66 Roundwood Lane, Harpendon, Herts

849 Alan Butcher                  17 Cedar Grove, Pennfields, Wolverhampton

777 Ian Calder                      22 Greenways, Lydney, Gloucestershire

778 Penelope Calder             22 Greenways, Lydney, Gloucestershire

902 Martin Cavendar             The Old Rectory, Westbury-sub-Mendip, Wells, Somerset

903 Francisca Cavendar        The Old Rectory, Westbury-sub-Mendip, Wells, Somerset

885 C. Chambers                 70 Rush Hill, Bath

785 Paul Christie                  7 The Glen, London Road, Sunninghill, Ascot, Berks

782 Patricia Christie             7 The Glen, London Road, Sunninghill, Ascot, Berks

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

862 Bob Cork                       22 Dennor Road, Hengrove, Bristol 4

585 Tony Corrigan                139 Stockwood Lane, Stockwood, Bristol

827 Mike Cowlishaw             14 Plovers Down, Olivers Battery, Winchester

890 Jerry Crick                     2 Coneacre, Chersey Road, Windlesham, Surrey

680 Bob Cross                     42 Bayham Road, Knowle, Bristol

870 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

449 Garth Dell                      AI 5 Printing, HQNI, BFPO 825.

815 J. Dibben                       97 Worth Clough, Poynton, Cheshire

710 Colin Dooley                  51 Osmaston Road, Harbourne, Birmingham 7

829 Angela Dooley               51 Osmaston Road, Harbourne, Birmingham 7

164 L Ken Dobbs                  85 Fox Rd., Beacon Heath, Exeter, Devon

830 John Dukes                   55 Cowl Street, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

847 Michael Durham             11 Catherine Place, Bath

812 S. Durston                     Hill View, Old Beat, Maidentown, Nr. Burlescombe, Tiverton, Devon

779 Jim Durston                   Hill View, Old Beat, Maidentown, Nr. Burlescombe, Tiverton, Devon

322 L Bryan Ellis                  30 Main Road, Westonzoyland, Bridgwater, Somerset

232 Chris Falshaw                23 Hallam Grange Crescent, Sheffield

909 Helen Fielding                19 Queens Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

269 L Tom Fletcher               11 Cow Lane, Bramcote, Nottingham.

894 Phil Ford                       34 New Street, Deiniolen, Gwynedd, North Wales

404 L Albert Francis             22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset

569 Joyce Franklin               16 Glen Drive, Stoke Bishop, Bristol

469 Pete Franklin                 16 Glen Drive, Stoke Bishop, Bristol

759 Colleen Gage                 36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Avon

765 Tom Gage                     36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Avon

835 Leonard Gee                  15 Warren Close, Denton, Manchester

265 Stan Gee                       26 Parsonage Street, Heaton Norris, Stockport.

869 N. George                      Zapata Offshore Ltd., Crombie Road, Torry, Aberdeen

836 Bob Givens                    Newstead Lodge, 1 Fields Green, Crawley, Sussex

894 Bruce Glocking              213 St. Leonards, Horsham, Sussex

790 Martin Grass                  14 Westlea Road, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts

900 Christine Greenhall         13 Nooreys Avenue, Oxford

582 Chris Hall                      1 Chancellors Cottage, Long Lane, Redhill, Bristol

432 L Nigel Hallet                 62 Cranbrook Road, Bristol

910 Sandra Halliday              6A Collingwood Road, Redland, Bristol 6

104 L Mervyn Hannam          14 Inskip Place, St Annes, Lancashire

304 L C.W. Harris                 The Diocesan Registry, Wells, Somerset

581 Chris Harvey                  Byways, Hanham Lane, Paulton, Somerset

4 L Dan Hassell                    Hill House, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset

893 Dave Hatherley               4 Spring Rise, Wells

917 Robin Hervin                  24 Ashton Street, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

873 A. Higginbottom             Warana, Hill Lea Gardens, Cheddar

863 John Hildrick                  Tarngulla, Old Bristol Road, Priddy

773 Rodney Hobbs               Rose Cottage, Nailsea

373 Sid Hobbs                     Hokestone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy

736 Sylvia Hobbs                  Hokestone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy

905 Paul Hodgson                11 Ockford Ridge, Godalming, Surrey

793 Mike Hogg                     32 Birchley Heath, Nuneaton, Warks

898 Liz Hollis                       1 Bugle Cottage, Milborne Wick, Nr Sherborne, Dorset

899 Tony Hollis                    1 Bugle Cottage, Milborne Wick, Nr Sherborne, Dorset

920 Nick Holstead                7 Sladebrook close, Bradfod-on-Avon, Wiltshire

387 L George Honey             Droppsta, 19044, Odensala, Sweden

855 Ted Humphreys              7 Mounters Close, Marnhull, Sturminster Newton, Dorset

363 Maurise Iles                   50 Warman, Stockwood, Bristol

906 Annette Ingleton             Seymour Cottage, Hinton St. Mary, Sturminster Newton, Dorset

73 Angus Innes                    18 David’s Close, Alveston, Bristol, Aven

168 Margaret Innes               18 David’s Close, Alveston, Bristol, Aven

540 L Dave Irwin                   Townsend Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Somerset

753 N. Jago                         27 Quantock Road, Windmill Hill, Bristol 3

792 Ken James                    Flat 2, Shrubbery Road, Weston-super-Mare

922 Tony Jarratt                   Alwyn Cottage, Station Road, Congressbury, Bristol

340 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

285 U. Jones                        Marsh Farm, Askem in Furness, Lancs.

907 Karen Jones                  65 McDonald road, Lightwater, Surrey

567 L Alan Kennett               92 West Broadway, Henleaze, Bristol

884 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

413 L R. Kitchen                  Overcombe, Horrabridge, Yelverton, Devon

904 Calvin Knight                  54 Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey

874 Dave Lampard                Woodpeckers, 11 Springfield Park Road, Horsham, Sussex

667 L Tim Large                   72 Lower Whitesands, Radstock

795 Peter Leigh                    17 Northampton Road, Ecton, Northants.

574 L Oliver Lloyd                 Withey House, Withey Close West, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol

871 S. Lord                          Greengates School, Apparto Postal 41-659, Mexico 10, DF

908 P. Lord                          Greengates School, Apparto Postal 41-659, Mexico 10, DF

58 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

722 A. McRory-Peace           5 Colmer Road, Yeovil Somerset

558 L Tony Meaden              Highcroft, Westbury, Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset

704 Dave Metcalfe                10 Troughton Crescent, Blackpool, Lancs.

308 Keith Murray                  17 Harrington Gardens, London SW7

852 John Noble                    18 Hope Place, Tennis Court Road, Paulton

880 Graham Nye                  7 Ramsey Road, Horsham, Surrey

624 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

724 Graham Phippen            Rock Cottage, Rock Road, Wick, Bristol

337 Brian Prewer                  East View, West Horrington, Wells, Somerset

886 Jeff Price                       18 Hurston Road, Inns Court, Bristol

622 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

682 John Riley                     Araluen, Linershwood Close, Bramley, Surrey

921 Pete Rose                     2 The Beacon, Ilminster

918 Richard Round               131 Middleton Road, Banbury, Oxfordshire

832 Roger Sabido                 163 Coldharbour Road, Bristol 6

240 L Alan Sandall               43 Meadway Ave., Nailsea, Avon

359 L Carol Sandall              43 Meadway Ave., Nailsea, Avon

760 Jenny Sandercroft          5 Eastcroft, Henleaze, Bristol

747 Derek Sanderson           23 Penzeance Gardesn, Harold Hill, Romford, Essex.

237 L B. Scott                      Merrymead, Havestock Road, Winchester Hants

482 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

864 Chris Shaw                    7 Queens Head Walk, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts.

872 Mark Sherman               Wood View, Grey Field, High Litton

889 N. Shott                        Flat 15, assessment Centre, Kingswood Schools, Counterpool Road., Kingswood, Bristol

915 Chris Smart                   15 Timor Close, Popley Islands, Basingstoke, Hants

911 James Smart                 c/o 72 Winchester Road, Brislington, Bristol

823 Andy Sparrow                2 Grosvenor Place, London Road, Bath

851 Maurice Stafford             28 Rowan Close, Sonning Common, Reading, Berks.

1 L Harry Stanbury               31 Belvoir Road, St. Andrews, Bristol

38L Mrs I Stanbury               74 Redcatch, Knowle, Bristol

840 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

837 Richard Stevenson         Greystones, Priddy

865 Paul Stokes                   32 Manor Way, Bagshot, Surrey

583 Derek Targett                 16 Phyllis Hill, Midsomer Norton

800 Mike Taylor                    39 Reedley road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol

772 Nigel Taylor                   Whidden Farm, Chilcote, Nr. Wells, Somerset

919 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.

876 Nick Thorne                   20 Hawkers Lane, Wells, Somerset

699 Buckett Tilbury               256 Cressex Road, High Wycombe, Bucks

700 Anne Tilbury                  256 Cressex Road, High Wycombe, Bucks

692 Roger Toms                   18 Hoton Road, Wysemold, Leicester

803 R.S. Toms                     18 Hoton Road, Wysemold, Leicester

80 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                      48 Wiston Path, Fairwater Way, Cwmbran, Gwent, Wales

328 Steve Tuck                    Colles Close, Wells, Somerset

768 Tony Tucker                   75 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock, Avon

769 Sue Tucker                    75 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock, Avon

678 Dave Turner                   Moonrakers, Brewery Lane, Holcombe, Bath

912 John Turner                    Orchard Cottage, 92 Church lane, Backwell, Avon

635 L S. Tuttlebury               28 Butts Road, Alton, Hants.

887 Greg Villis                     The Oaks, Round Oak Road, Cheddar, Somerset

175 L D. Waddon                 32 Laxton Close, Taunton, Somerset

397 Mike Wheadon               91 The Oval, Bath

861 Maureen Wheadon         91 The Oval, Bath

553 Bob White                     Weavers Farm, Binegar

878 Ross White                   30 Curley Hill Road, Lightwater, Surrey.

916 Jane Wilson                   University Laboratory of Psychology, Park Road, Oxford

559 Barry Wilton                  Valley View, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol

568 Brenda Wilton                Valley View, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol

721 Graham Wilton-Jones     Ileana, Stenfield Road, Nap Hill, High Wycombe, Bucks

850 Annie Wilton-Jones        Cwm Dwr, 110 Pierce Avenue, Olton, Solihull, West Midlands

813 Ian Wilton-Jones            Cwm Dwr, 110 Pierce Avenue, Olton, Solihull, West Midlands

738 Roger Wing                   15 Penleaze Gardens, Harold Hill, Romford, Essex

877 Steve Woolven               21 Three Acres, Horsham, Sussex

914 Brian Workman              11 Moreland, 11 New Bath Road, Radstock, Bath

 


 

Lifeline

Another year begins with the usual long committee meeting sorting out the directions of the A.G.M. The Dinner although not pleasing everybody did bring many old faces back to the fold.  Amongst those I noticed were Norman Petty, Jok and Judy, and Frank Darbon.  The pantomime was much enjoyed judging by the applause, particularly the performance of Alice.  Whilst everyone was at the Dinner the Belfry was broken into and vandalised.  I am sure many pints reward would be waiting for information leading to, as they say on the better side of the law.

The Belfry was a prominent topic at the October committee meeting much concern shown over its maintenance.  Martin Bishop plans to tackle the problem of the drains as top priority.  Other jobs include finishing the new bunks in the men’s room; waterproofing the troublesome window at the end of the men’s room and exterior painting particularly of the window sills using a wood preservative as so far paint has not successfully taken to it.  It should go without saying that much help is needed.

May I remind everyone of the Ian Dear Fund.  It is available to younger members to enable them to partake in expeditions abroad. It’s never too early to apply and all you have to do is find Mike Palmer, Sett or any committee member to make sure your application is considered.

Although the club has several leaders to D.Y.O. and O.F.D. there is always room for more.  Those interested should contact the caving sec. The Leaders system is somewhat like that for Cuthbert’s requiring the individual to acquaint him/herself with the various routes in the cave and show cave sense.

In order that the members address list can be updated please let me know of any changes.  This will ensure that your B.B. gets to the right address.  The members list appears in this issue so check your details.

Many thanks to Sett for the donation of duplicating ink and also to Jonah for a collection of BB's for the Library.  At the October meeting the Committee expressed the Clubs thanks to Brenda Wilton for the valuable service given in distributing the BB.  Mike Palmer has recently taken on this job in the new Club Year.  I am sure he would be pleased to hear from anyone with any bright ideas to improve the distribution - particularly in keeping postage costs as low as possible.

Tim Large.

Stop Press

Following the displeasure shown by many members regarding the Dinner, negotiations the Cliff Hotel have resulted in a, saving of £75 on the total bill.  What shall we do with it?  Any bright idea’s?

B.E.C. Dig - Wheal Wigmore

Even if you have only been to Mendip once in the past four months, you probably know all about Wigmore. J-Rat, Snab and many others have worked like Trojans hoping for another Tynings here (Wessex and MNRC have both tried, in pre war years) and are already deeper down than their forbears, and J-Rats Walls, with mining spoil rock gardens, vie with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

If the winch does not fall down the hole – it isn’t filled with autumn leaves, it’s bound to go. Come and have a look, or even a dig - 10p a go.  There will be an article, with survey and picture in a future B. B.

Austria 1977

A combined Grampian/B.E.C. trip is to be made to the Hollengebirge, east of Salzburg next year.  Provisional dates are 22nd July to 13th August, 1978.  Anyone interested should contact Wig or Snab.

Moles

Mendip Original Limestone Exploration Society - is an interclub organisation, whose aim is to provide transport for expeditions abroad.

Remember the green papers at the dinner.  Remember the raffle.

There is a raffle every Saturday night in the Hunters, so empty your pockets of all those silly 10p's and give them to the Moles dolly bird.  It is only £1 to join the society

Slit Sided Stals

The discovery of Roman Mine by Jill and Norman Tuck revealed a number of slit sided stals (see BEC Caving Report No. 15).  It was thought that they were unique to this mine.  On a recent trip into G.B., Wig noticed a number of similar formations in the roof.  They were about ½" long and were bell formed at the lower end.  Perhaps they are more common than previously thought.

A Severn Barrage is proposed.

A couple of years ago a serious proposal was made to HM government to construct a massive dam across the Severn estuary to provide hydro-electric power thus making use of the exceptionally high tides.  The quantity of aggregate required is enormous – about 4,000 million tonnes.  This material will be obtained from the Mendips and South Wales – both principal caving regions.  The Government is being pressurized to publish the preliminary report on the subject and alternative scheme including wave motion at Oban. The CSCC and CCC are keeping a close watch on the situation.

QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

Record

With the list of candidates for the committee election finally closing at sixteen, a record number of nominees has been clocked up.  It will be very interesting to see what effect this very large number has on the voting.

Opinions

When any members who keep their ear to the ground comment on an aspect of the way the club runs its affairs, I always find it interesting, because it is not often that the feelings of club members get into print in spite of the fact that some members hold strong views on these subjects.

This observation follows my reading of 'Fifth Column' for this month.  Contrary to popular opinion, the editor does occasionally read the B.B. Whatever the merits or demerits of our particular system of electing officers and committee members by allowing the elected committee to pick its own team (a parallel with parliamentary general elections?)  I feel that the 'birds' have a very valid point to make in that all candidates for the B.E.C. election should have to declare what they would or would not be prepared to do if they got elected.  Currently, many members feel that committee members should be prepared to accept any job that wants doing.

As I understand the philosophy behind our present system, we elect nine people who we then charge with the responsibility of running the club on our behalf. Some of these people will be 'naturals' for particular jobs.  Others will not.  In extreme cases, the committee might even have to look elsewhere for the right person for a particular job.  Again, it is often argued that, as part of their commitment to the club, committee members should be prepared to step into the vacancies even at some degree of personal inconvenience.

However, the subject is a large one, and (as the 'birds' say) contentious.  It is certainly too large to warrant snap judgements either in this column or indeed, from the sort of debate we normally get at an A.G.M. Perhaps a full enquiry into the system might be a good thing.  Even if it does not result in any major change, it will at least bring all the various viewpoints into the open.

Meanwhile, club voters have still to construct a committee from the 16 candidates in such a manner that the successful nine will not be landed with a difficult – or impossible – ballot amongst themselves for the various named officers of the club.


 

Letters

22 Parkfield Rank,
Pucklechurch,
Bristol.
28th July 1977.

Dear Sire,

I well enjoyed G.W-J's article on how to make a 330 foot descent last as long as possible!

I appreciate that half the reason for tackling the job with S.R.T. was for the sheer hell of it, but it seems that there are lessons to be learned about the suiting of techniques to requirements.

With hindsight, would Graham agree that ladders would have been more useful in this situation?  They are a very adaptable tool, easy to use and they provide regular belay point!  They are easy to grip for handling awkward items and their usefulness in this respect should not be forgotten in cave rescue.

Viewing things from my armchair, I think I would have put a ladder down and used that instead of using the mighty Acrow to disturb the equilibrium of the sides of the well. Rapid transport could still be provided by the rope.

Incidentally, how was this well dug?  Was Martel involved?  Any clues, G.W-J?

Thanks for the interesting story,

Cheers~ Kangy.

Editor's Note:

I know nothing about this well, but I was recently involved in an abortive attempt to make my fortune by investigating the well at Beeston Castle in Cheshire.  This well is over 360 feet deep (although at present the bottom cannot be reached owing to the stones chuckled in by every visitor to the castle).  It was dug in the Eleventh Century through hard sandstone of the sort that many churches in the district are made of.  The first two hundred feet or so are lined with masonry and the well is about six feet in diameter.  It was due out entirely by hand tools!  It took about two years to dig.

It seems that the B.E.C. are not the only people who do things to excess.


 

Club Officer’s Reports 1977

These reports by club officers for the Annual General Meeting have been approved for publication by the committee.

1.   HON SECRETARY' S REPORT

Of the many duties required from the club Secretary, the hardest thing that I find must be done is to compile and present the annual 'state of the nation' report which must be factual yet carefully collated so as not to steal the thunder of my fellow officers. Ideally, it should report the club's progress during the year and decide whether or not the year has been, good or bad for the club.  This is a most difficult decision because what may appear good to one group of members could appear equally bad to another group.  However, if the criterion is in membership then the club must have had a reasonable year.

We have, as you will know, invoked the constitution to disbar any members who have not paid their subs by 30 April.  Additionally, the subscription rate has risen to £3.00 and £4.25 for full and joint membership.  Although we have lost one or two members due to this (particularly from joint membership) we have claimed 17 new members and we have persuaded one or two older ones to rejoin the fold.  The present club membership is 198 (individual members) of whom 58 are Life Members.

There was no election to the 1976/77 committee, the only nomination received by the time of the AGM being that of Paul Christie who was therefore automatically elected.  The further vacancy - that due to the Climbing Secretary vanishing up north - was filled by Russell Jenkins who was co-opted and agreed to act as climbing secretary.  The committee, to the date of this report has met ten times, one meeting was voided due to the quorum being on holiday.  Attendance by committee members has been quite reasonable and there has been little trouble in managing a quorum.  Alfie, Barrie and Tim managed a 100% attendance.  Mike and Chris managed 90%; Paul and Graham managed 80%, Russ at 70% and John at 60%.

One of the major considerations of the committee this past year has been that of the Central Heating of the Belfry which was passed on by the membership at the AGM.  Much discussion took place on this, at all meetings, and quotations were obtained from a variety of experts in this field. Generally, the out¬come seemed to be that the feasibility of installation was OK, but the expense and practicality (at a time when the configuration of the Belfry looked like changing) not so good.  We were unfortunate on one occasion that a system which was removed from a building in Bristol was missed due to there not being any transport or effort available at the right time to make a collection - ¬there was effort available later but by this time the system was scrapped.  Perhaps it is a sign of the times that effort is no longer as readily available as it was in past years.

The Belfry has again been subjected to criticism of its facilities and there was a proposal put to the club (via the BB, by the Engineer) to remove the library facility in favour of enlarging the changing and shower area.  Once again though, there has been no effort available to this work and to some extent it could be thought due to the irregularity of the BB issue.  However, only one formal working weekend has been called during the year and this was not well attended.  I hesitate to sound off as criticising the Engineer on these matters as there is, I’m sure all will appreciate, a multitude of 'minor' tasks needing to be done each week just to keep the Belfry ticking over and it would be unfair to expect the Engineer to carry out all the work without any assistance from the membership. Nevertheless, I would like to see the activity of Working Weekends becoming a routine led by the Engineer. After all we all saw what a great deal was accomplished in a short time when the Belfry 'Christmassers' wanted to eat their meal in reasonable cleanliness.

On the Caving side, the club has enjoyed a quiet year with brief bursts of sudden activity especially during the period of (or breakthrough into) Tynings Farm Swallet. This was a combined club effort with others including the Grampian well to the fore.  BEC cavers were well represented in this venture though and an early article appeared in the BB.  A further early appearance was Dave Turner who requested that Sandpit became an 'official' BEC dig and much more recently, Nigel Taylor has requested that Wigmore Swallet also be made official - thus we are in the happy state of having two official digs under way though action is quiet on the Sandpit front. Apart from these activities, the membership has been quite active in Cuthbert’s (on a tourist basis) and our cavers are making regular trips both on and off Mendip.  A 'mixed.' club Friday night caving is very regular and my only complaint is that for some reason there is a reluctance to complete the Caving Log thus spoiling much useful BB material.

Probably enough has been said of the BB elsewhere but with luck it should be rapidly returning to its true course and although no doubt it will arise at the AGM as a topic for discussion I feel secure in saying that the team seems to be successful and, if the machine holds out, we are in a reasonable position for the future.

Clearly, Climbers are on the up.  Russ Jenkins seems to have breathed a slice of life back into the section which is still, unfortunately, very small.  Still, small or not they are active and their exploits are being regularly reported in the BB.  Russ has spent a lot of time on the administrative aspects and one result of this is the decision that the clubs be again affil¬iated to the BMA on an associate basis.

The Belfry continues to be well used but once again the malaise of the age ¬inflation - has affected things there and it was decided that there should be an increase in fees to both members and non-members.  On this occasion it was decided that we should attempt to make it more beneficial to the club members and the differential was widened to give a more economic deal to our¬selves.  Chris has worked hard again during the year and has come to several decisions concerning the amount of work he is prepared to do.  One of these ideas meant that the cooking utensil are to be removed and he hopes that this will result in more washing up being done by those who make the items dirty in the first place.  It is an unfortunate event but Chris has, I believe, also decided that he no longer wishes to be our Hut Warden.  He has done the job now for two years and although he is still keen to be involved with the running of the club, he has decided enough is enough.

Since this is the Secretary's report I suppose that it is only proper that I report my own lack of achievement during the year.  Amongst the catastrophes I count the 1976 Dinner and I think that least said about that the better.  Still, it did force our hand into a referendum and it is to be hoped that this year we shall fare better than last.  The venue for the Dinner is the Cliff Hotel at Cheddar (recently under new management) and apart from the Dinner we have a welcome return of the Dramatist's Art. Other things not done by yours truly during the year include any attendance at the various political associa¬tions.  However the club has been extremely well represented (by our Chair¬man of Committee, Caving Secretary etc) and these meetings I'm sure would have been no better for the attendance of a one time caver.

Finally, on a Secretarial level, I have decided that the only post in which I can make any contribution to the club is that of Secretary.  However, the success of a candidate in the election to committee does not carry any guarantee of tenure of post with it and this could be my last report to the club as an officer of the committee.  If this is the case I should like to take this opportunity to thank the membership for its assistance in making my job as secretary so easy to manage.  I cheer you on the way by stating that, in my opinion, the BEC is alive and well and can look forward to 1978.


 

2.   BELFRY ENGINEER'S REPORT.

The usual maintenance and repairs to the Belfry and site have once again been accomplished by the few, including the Christmas spruce-up when the majority of the building was scrubbed; painted with fungicidal paint and then emulsioned.  Unfortunately, during the winter months the groups staying at the hut insisted on keeping all the windows shut and consequently all our painting efforts were to no avail and the mould was with us after a period of two months.

Plans have been put before the club for alterations to the central core of the hut (see February B.B.). There has been very little feedback from members except for a few unintelligent arguments after the pub.

With the spasmodic printing of the B.B. it was not really practicable to organise any planned working weekends.  This became apparent during the early part of the year when notification for assistance was published in one case a week before and in another on the same weekend as the working weekend.  If the alterations are to be started and hopefully completed, it will be necessary to have an up to date B.B, of some form or another, even if it has to be printed on a duplicator.

3.   CAVING SECRETARY'S REPORT

Yet another year passes, the highlight of which would appear to be the members involvement in the discovery of Tynings Barrow Swallet.  This occupied about a dozen members during the winter months.  Subsequently the survey was completed by Dave Irwin.

On the digging scene, Waldegrave Swallet was abandoned and filled, but recently work commenced at Wigmore Swallet.  Several dives have taken place at Wookey Hole involving members, but so far the cave has not been extended. Members have been active in all the major caving areas with about a dozen trips to Yorkshire.  I have heard rumours that a certain infamous duo has visited Giants Hole

As many will already know, Dave Irwin has written an interesting book on Mendip caves, more from the sporting angle than as a purely reference work.  This has involved him and his helpers visiting many of the local caves.  An off shoot of this has been the surveying of the stone mines in the Bath district.  It’s hoped to publish a report on these in the future.

Cuthbert’s has received an increase in the number of tourist trips and a continued rise in interest from prospective leaders.  It is hoped that the high standards of cave preservation so far obtained will be continued by the new leaders.

Some people may feel that a formal caving programme should be published each year.  In the past I have done so but the response has been very poor.  What the caving secretary can do is to provide information on access, accommodation etc.  Should there be sufficient demand for a caving programme, then on could be arranged. Of course, this depends on a regular B.B.  Most of the caving referred to in this report can be attributed to a small percentage of members.  What are the rest of you doing?  With a club of our size, I feel that more members should take an active part.  It would be nice if more activity took place in digging and in the scientific fields.  A club of our standing needs to project a responsible attitude in the light of outside pressures on the caving world.  I hope that next year will prove even better than this.

3. BELFRY BULLETIN REPORT

The considerable difficulties due to the breakdown of the printing machine earlier in the year have already been reported in detail, both at committee meetings and to club members via the B.B. itself, so there seems no need to repeat everything in this report except to note that the effectiveness of the team set up at the last A.G.M. in accordance with my recommendation last year has been inevitably reduced.

However, I do not think that the events of this year should be regarded as being against the idea of a team.  It is true that, through no fault of their own, Andy Alan and Tony have not been able to help as much as they would have liked, but in contrast, Mike Wheadon has been invaluable in taking on much of the preparation of plates, together with some editing while Barrie has provided covers, organised all the stationery and has finally come up with a cheap supply of paper - the last being a very difficult thing to do in these hard times.  In addition, Brenda and Maureen have provided much material for the B.B. while the Wiltons have been doing the B.B. distribution and the Wheadons some of the stapling and collation.  I would therefore like to record special thanks to the Wiltons and the Wheadons.

Those who have been following the current series in the B.B. on the Growth of B.E.C. will not, perhaps, be surprised to learn that an adequate club journal turns out to be one of the most - if THE most - important factor in keeping members of club satisfied. Now that this has been shown to be the case, it becomes doubly important that an adequate B. B. is maintained in the future.  A single keen club member doing everything may be very efficient, but the effect on the club if he or she suddenly falls ill or leaves the area has been very great in the past and must not he allowed to occur again.  Thus the idea of a team becomes the only really sensible solution.

What we should try to achieve next year is absolute regularity.  I am sure that this can be done and that the lessons we have learned this year can show us how to do it.  Firstly, the material which various people have produced, if maintained, will mean that we do not run short of things to print.  Secondly, the work which Mike Wheadon has been doing means that there will always be enough printed plates ready to make up the next B.B.  From then on, we have got to improve matters, and I suggest that I make the B.B. printing date a fortnight before each committee, meeting.  I will then contact out servicing expert and through him, find a firm who will guarantee to do back up printing from our plates at a week's notice.  Thus, if the machine breaks down, we will have time to shunt the plates to this firm and still get them back in time for the B.B. to appear regularly at each monthly committee meeting, where it can be taken away for collation, stapling and distribution.

If this can be achieved, and I see no reason why it should not be, then we shall have a regular B.B. on which the club, and the other club officers, can rely.


 

The Growth of the B.E.C.

PART 5 - THE RECENT PAST

The fifth article in our series on the growth of the club, which takes the story up to the present day.

The period of time covered by this instalment is that stretching from 1962 to the end of the survey, in 1975.  This is the longest stretch covered in our review, and the graph is shown below….

It appears to reveal a very slowly growing club, with a few more bumps than we have generally found so far. If we were being lazy, we could well leave it at that, and conclude that at last the club had settled down to the sort of steady but slow growth that we might well expect.  However, all is not that simple.  To start with, quite unlike the previous periods of time, when the number of new members arriving was very steady, this period has been one in which they have fluctuated considerably, from a maximum of 39 in 1963 to a minimum of 19 in 1966.  If we want to find out what has really been happening over this period, we have first to remove the effects of this fluctuation.  If this is done, then the result becomes like the curve shown below….

…..which now reveals two pronounced dips in 1974 and 1967.  If the figures are now examined, the dips can be shown to be the result of what I have, called 'frighteners' - which are things which have suddenly upset the members for short periods of time.  What a frightener does is to frighten away all those members who were wondering whether to stay with the club for another year, or to leave.  They are things which represent the 'last straw' and provide the reason for leaving amongst members who were a bit undecided anyway.  This causes the sudden dip.  After a frightener, very few people leave during the next year, because those who were not frightened were going to stay anyway.  Thus a frightener compresses all the leavers for two or three years into a single year.  Total membership thus recovers but there is an overall loss as explained some time ago because the loss of an older member does not balance the gain of a younger one in terms of future subs.

We can now go a stage further and remove the effect of these frighteners and this will give the curve as shown below.

………which may be compared with the rate of increase at this stage of the club's life as predicted by the average model used for earlier predictions and which is shown on the graph above as a dashed line.  We can see that the rate of increase over the period of time being considered is, in fact, what we would have expected in the first place.  Thus, although the period has been a confusing one because the rate of new arrivals each year has been very erratic and the frighteners have further complicated matters, as far as the basic satisfaction of members with their club is concerned, all is well - or was well up to 1975.

It has already been explained that the figures can show us what happened in some detail and whether any increase in total membership was due to more people arriving or to fewer people leaving.  We still have to make some deductions as to why the satisfaction of members with the club has varied - and it is this sort of thing which can give analysis a bad name. People say that anything can be proved by figures.

What they mean is that anything can appear to be proved by figures.  One has to be very careful at this stage as to how one interprets the figures.  To take an example, the rate of increase in the period 1957 to 1963 was not quite as great as that from 1945 to 1949.  It would be easy to conclude that members were not quite as keen on staying during the later period as they had been in the earlier one.  The figures would apparently 'prove' this.

As a matter of fact, they do not.  The reverse is, in fact, true.  Before we go on to the final part of this series and try to determine just what caused the changes during the lifetime of the club, it is thus necessary to narrow down the field of speculation as far as possible.  To this end, the model we have used for prediction, based on average values throughout the life of the club is not accurate enough.  A new model has thus been made which fits the real curve in eleven places (the old one fitted in only four places) and with the aid of this more realistic model, it should be possible to come to the right conclusions in the next and final article of this series on the Growth of the B.E.C.


 

Election Candidates

Voting Forms will, of course, be sent to each paid up member, but making some spare space in this B.B., we are appending a list of the sixteen candidates for reference purposes. Those who are members of the present committee are printed in capital letters, and the jobs which people are currently doing are also printed.  In some past years, we have printed a short synopsis of what the various candidates have done in the past, and what their current interests are, but it has not proved possible to get round to such a long list of members and obtain a fair and balanced account of each candidate.  Hence, the short amount of information.

THE CANDIDATES  (In alphabetical order)

1.         CHRIS BATSTONE                    Present Hut Warden.

2.         Martin Bishop.

3.         PAUL CHRISTIE                        Present Assistant Sec.

4.         ALFIE COLLINS                         Present Chairman & B.B. Editor.

5.         Bob Cross.

6.         Colin Dooley.

7.         JOHN DUKES                           Present Belfry Engineer.

8.         Martin Grass.

9.         Dave Irwin                                 Present Hon. Librarian.

10.        RUSS JENKINS                         Present Climbing Sec.

11.        TIM LARGE                              Present Caving Sec.

12.        Nigel Taylor.

13.        MIKE WHEADON                      Present Hon. Sec.

14.        Maureen Wheadon.

15.        BARRIE WILTON                      Present Hon. Treasurer.

16.        GRAHAM WILTON-JONES         Present Tacklemaster & Editor, Caving Pubs.


 

Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

August in the club year seems to coincide with the 'silly season' of the newspaper, but us birds are more fortunate because, since we are a group, we can eavesdrop in all sorts of unexpected places.  It could even be that you're not safe even when you are on holiday.  One of our group was list¬ening in to a conversation at the Hunters the other day, when Tom Gage (who does NOT qualify for our MCP award this month) was saying that there is beginning to be a regular gathering taking place once again every Thursday at the Seven Stars.  Amongst those attending are Nigel Jago and a few lapsed members.  The editor (an MCP if there ever was one) has sabotaged our efforts yet again by actually getting out an issue of the B.B. on time.  The speed between the July and the August issue were so fast that we did not have time to draw breath and really observe the scene.  After all, a fortnight  is not a very long time, even for Mendip, so we had nothing really to report for, the August issue.  Besides, most sensible folk were away watching the rain at the seaside.

Preparations for the A.G.M. and dinner seem to be progressing apace.  Recently, Peter Franklin was ‘scene’ at the hunters and, although he seemed to have left his casting couch at home, he was getting lots of offers to appear in his latest dramatic epic.  There certainly seems to be lots of talent of offer for this show. Nominations for the committee are rolling in.  We see from the last B.B. that the present lot are all prepared to stand again and, on disbandment of this year’s committee we have decided that they should be given our MCP award for the month (nem. con.)  Anyway, the election should provide some fun, as so far ther are thirteen candidates (unlucky for some?) and the A.G.M. will have to be quicker than its usual six hours.  After all, the B.B. seems to have finally got to grips with the printing situation and the Hut Engineering surely can’t take up too much time.  The only ‘burning issue’ seems to be our continued lack of central heating.  Perhaps we can expect Mike to be contentious as usual.

Collectively, we are widely (or is it wildly?) experienced as a bunch and we are surprised at the democracy of our club election.  Whilst it is the major event in any democracy it seems weird that we, the membership, have to vote for nine bodies and still run the risk of getting a square peg in a round hole - or getting someone in a job they do not want to do.  In our experience of similar organisations, we remember that a person had to state his or her case and the post or posts to which they aspired.  We could then exercise our right to elect them to exclude them from these posts. This seems to be a particularly important point when considering the post of Hut Warden, where the person doing this job needs to be present on Mendip most (or preferably every) weekend. We have come to the conclusion that the reason why there have been so few nominees at recent elections is this very fear that they will be lumbered with a job on the committee they neither want nor are competent to do.  How's that for a bit of contention, folks?

It is clear from the Mendip scene at the moment that the universities have got rid of their students for the summer vacation, and we have seen one or two of the lesser-known drop outs around again.  For instance, Maryon Barlow was seen recently, as was Mark Shearman.  Then very briefly, there was Chris Greenall and Richard Barker and the UBS of Sandi.  Strange to say, the OCL has not been seen, but Barrie tells us that he's certainly the first with his dinner booking so we shall see him there.

The Bishops are back in residence after their trip to Spain.  (Liz slightly the poorer after contributing to HM Customs) where, from Martin's appearance, there was a slight shortage of sun.  Their reappearance serves to remind us that the Phippen and Co. are back - folk is running riot again and even Zot is getting to be a regular with his Stradivarius permanently tucked in his beard.

Last, but by no means least, a brief mention of the new daughters of Tony Corrigan and Dave Hatherley. Welcome!


 

Monthly Crossword Number 78

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Across (Passages)

1. Feature of two local ones found in pitches tackled generally.  (5)
4. Corks otherwise in caves? (5)
7. Rise, and the gear one might put on to go caving? (3-2)
8. Leave the main party, perhaps? (5)
9. Attempt. (3)
10. Once common in Mendip pubs – an unstable ruckle does now and then. (7)
12. Much visited pink spot on Mendip? (t)
14. Did ole English folk get as drunk as this? (3)
16. To be classed as this, a caver needs an A.1 leg….  (5)
18. …..and this part of the anatomy for G.B. (5)
19.  Thought at random. (5)
20. A cave with nasty ones might give a caver nasty ones. (5)

Down (Pitches)

1. Essential, easy to carry, caving requirement.  (5)
2. Colloquial Hunters song, perhaps. (5)
3. Climbers may find themselves this and cave photographers should be familiar with the word. (7)
4. Old Roman countryside? (3)
5. Oliver Lloyd, initially confused with artistic institution gives Cuthbert’s series. (5)
6. Mendip hole – sez I better pronounced. (5)
11. Cleft in Glastonbury hill?  More likely stream in flood. (7)
12. Deep rift, perhaps. (5)                              
13. Ways out of caves. (5)
14. Lesser known Mendip features of the type of 12 across. (5)
15. & 17. Part of Priddy if combined. (5 and 3)

Solution to No. 77

 

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Club Headquarters

The Belfry, Wells Rd, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Telephone WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      M. Wheadon

Members           C. Batstone, P. Christie, J. Dukes, R. Jenkins T. Large, Barry Wilton, G. Wilton-Jones.

Officers Of The Club

Honorary Secretary             M. WHEADON, 91 The Oval, Englishcoombe, Bath.  Tel : BATH 713646

Honorary Treasurer             B. WILTON, ‘Valley View’, Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol. Tele : TEMPLE CLOUD 52072

Caving Secretary                TIM LARGE, 15 Kippax Avenue, Wells, Somerset

Climbing Secretary             R. JENKINS, 10 Amberley Close, Downend, Bristol.

Hut Warden                        C. BATSTONE, 8 Prospect Place, Bathford, Bath..

Belfry Engineer                   J. DUKES, 4 Springfield Crescent, Southampton. SO1 6LE  Tele : (0703) 774649

Tacklemaster                     G. WILTON-JONES, ‘Ilenea’, Stonefield Road. Nap Hill, High Wycombe, Bucks. Tele : (024) 024 3534

B.B. Editor                         S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishops Sutton, Nr. Bristol.  Tel : CHEW MAGNA 2915

Publications Editor              C. HOWELL, 131 Sandon Road, Edgebaston, Birmingham 17.  Tele : (021) 429 5549

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

 

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.

 

QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

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.

The usual list of club officers etc., has been omitted from this B.B. owing to the proximity of publication to the A.G.M.  The new officers etc. will be printed in the November edition.

Editorial

Clarification

With the A.G.M. fast approaching, and bringing, no doubt, its usual crop of member’s resolutions and the like, it might be a good time to prevent any misunderstandings by setting the record straight on a small but important point recently raised by a member about the status of the current B.B. team.

In the interests of accuracy, his description of it as the 'Editorial Sub Committee' is not a correct description for two reasons.  Firstly, a sub committee is a body set up by a committee for some special purpose during the lifetime of that committee.  The B.B. team was set up by last years A.G.M and must therefore be considered (if it is necessary to label it at all) as a special committee; a working party or a standing committee.  In fact, when the club did a vaguely similar thing in 1957, they called it the B.B. Editorial Board.

But, coming to the second point, the present team is not an Editorial board.  The chairman of the A.G.M. made it clear that editorial responsibility – and, in fact, responsibility for the whole team remained within the present editor.

By defining what should be done and who should be doing it, the A.G.M. chairman was acting in accordance with traditional practice whereby the basic arrangements concerning the B.B. are laid down by the general membership of the club at General meetings. Thus, the B.B. is effectively managed directly by the club membership.  Further guidance may be found in the discussion non the constitution and the B.B. in the minutes of the 1970 A.G.M.

Growth Of The B.E.C.

In this issue, the series of articles lately running is completed.  It would be interesting to see if any members can draw different conclusions from those in this B.B.  As always, correspondence is welcome.


 

Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

As a complete change this month, and to convince our readers that we really are a group (and versatile at that!) we have exchanged our literary talents for artistic ones, and present our bird’s eye view of the present club committee.  The editor (that well know MCP) tells us that our cartoon will probably be too big for all of it to get printed.  We don’t understand why, as it all went on the stencil we were given, but conceded that he might just be right.  If so, we apologise for ‘doing it to excess.’


 

The Deepest Cave?

Stan Gee, who is well known to most older club members, sends us this interesting account of his work in Italy.

In response to numerous requests in the B.B. I have at last put pen to paper in effort to tell of some of the recent, and not so recent doings of a group of friends which includes several B.E.C. members.  For some years, from 1968 in fact, we have been very interested in the area of the Appian Alps in Italy wherein lies the Antro del Corchia which we have had high hopes that it might become the deep¬est cave known. These hopes are now all but realised, though we were 'pipped at the post' as it were.  However, we can take some consolation in the fact that it was our researches into the area which led to this happy state of affairs.

For those of you who like to mix mountaineering with caving, the Appian Alps are ideal.  Lying some 12 miles (19km) inland from Viareggio, they soar up to 7, 000ft (2,000 odd metres) in parts and provide some excellent climbing on limestone and marble with runs of 1,000 ft (300m) and more.  The area, though quite remote and wild, is well provided with good footpaths and several Rifugi of the Italian Alpine Club.  It abounds with wild life, including too many snakes for comfort and there are hundreds of caves of varying depths.  The nearest point of access is the village of Leviglian - a small semi-tourist village nestling beneath the bulk of Monte Corchia (5,470' - 1,677m).  From here, you must walk, though it is possible to use a recently constructed quarry road, to reach some parts of the mountain, but in the main you must be prepared to walk for a couple of hours or more.

I first became interested in the are in 1968 when I led an expedition of the Derbyshire Caving Club to the Antro del Corchia.  This was something of an epic adventure that resulted in the extent of the cave being more or less doubled.  A couple of years later, I made my first excursion into the mysterious area beyond the Corchia ridge and commenced the programme of research which is still continuing.

My companions on some of these ventures have been Arthur Ball and Nigel Dibben, both of whom are B.E.C. members, and after some years Arthur and myself were offered that rare distinction of full membership of the C.A.I.  A happy situation which has be of great assistance to our work.

The old entrance to the Antro del Corchia is at 3,600ft (1,100m) and in 1968 had attained a depth of 2,200ft (670m).  This seemed to be the downward limit though there was ample room for extension horizontally.  The Antro played tricks on us and did not resurge where we thought it would but, by a 'geological impossibility' it changed direction and resurged at La Pollacra - some two and a half miles (4km) in the opposite direction.  Thus it was that we went beyond the ridge and commenced working much higher up.

In 1972 I had heard of two caves situated near to the summit of Monte Corchia and as a consequence in 1973 I scoured the area of the summit with a small party where we found two fluted shafts approximately twenty feet deep (6m).  At the time we thought that that they were the two known caves and it wasn't until the next year that we found that they were two unknown caves - the known ones being a little further on.   Thus, in 1975 with a larger party and well armed with crowbars, hammers etc, we slogged up the mountain in temperatures of 80°F (27°C) to dong the caves. The geologists laughed.  It was impossible.  The caves were too old.  There was no water, too much frost shattering - in short, another geological impossibility.

Twenty minutes work on the first cave produced a shaft of a hundred feet (30m) and an eventual depth of 250ft (76m) to a boulder choke that even chemics failed to remove.  This cave was called Buca del Arturo (Arthur’s Hole). An hours work on the second cave and we had a similar situation but with an even worse boulder problem. This cave we called 'La buca dei massi dandelante' (the cave of the great hanging boulders).  The proximity of the two caves to each other led us to believe that there was something BIG beneath and 1,600ft (500m) above the Antro del Corchia, so were searched for and found the other two caves, the Buca del Gracchi (Cave of the Crows) which was an open shaft of 150ft (46m), and the Buca del Cacciatore (Hunters Hole).  Suitably impressed, we returned in 1976 to dong the Buca del Cacciatare only to find that an Italian group, who' had been following our progress, had donged it same months previously to a depth of 1600ft (500m) and a length of two and a half miles (4Km).  Being only a small exploration party, we did not have the necessary gear to attempt anything on this scale, so it was abandoned.

I have recently returned from Italy and am able to report that the Buca del Cacciatore - now renamed Abissa Fighiera is now at a depth af 2,700ft (820m) and heading away from the Antro del Corchia towards a cave called Tana dell Uomo Selvatico (The lair of the Primitive Man) which has a depth of -1,034ft(318m).  At the moment of writing, the Italians are being rather cagey about their finds but I was able to find out that at -2,700ft (820m) they have encountered a lot of water and two other galleries one of which is heading towards the Antro.  The Buca del Cacciatore is at an altitude of 5,360ft (1650m) which is approximately 1,788ft (550m) above the old entrance to the Antro which would give a total depth of 3,965ft (1,220m) to the present bottom.  It is known that a further 300ft (91m) is possible between the bottom and the resurgence, which would make 4,265ft (1,300m).  However, there is some evidence of a secondary and lower resurgence and this will be one of my future investigations.

In the early part of 1977, another group of Italian cavers did an epic pegging job from the 'Canyon' in the Antro and discovered two new entrances high up on Monte Corchia.  From the highest of these entrances, the Antro now has a depth of 2,616 feet (805m) to the bottom.  Access to the bottom is now quite easy, as our discovery in 1969 of the 'New Hope Series' culminated in the opening of a lower entran¬ce called the Buca dei Serpenti (Hole of Snakes) that is accessible by a rough road.  This route gives quick and easy access to the Stalactite Gallery which was adjacent to our camps in 1968.  Thus the bottom is now obtainable in a fifteen hour round trip and an interesting through trip can be made between the old entrance and the Buca dei Serpenti.

A combination of same of the Italian clubs have attempted to place same restrictions on access to the whole of the Corchia area and to the Cacciatore in particular.  In the case of the Corchia area, this is ridiculous and it is doubtful whether the restriction to the Cacciatore is legal.  At the moment, something of a battle is going on between the cavers and the local authority, which is a quarry workers co-operative. At present, if anyone is contemplating a trip to this area, they would be well advised to contact me beforehand so that I can let them have the up to date information.


 

Totes Girbirge 1977

There is, happily, no shortage of caving articles this month, and we go from the Appian Alps to an Austrian caving area, with this article sent in (and, of course, written) by Nick Thorne.

It is many years since Britain could offer open potholes for pioneers to explore, and now even Europe is fast running out of areas of genuinely virgin limestone.  One area where almost no work has been done however is the Totes Gibirge in Austria.  Cambridge University Caving Club had a short expedition to that area in 1966 and I went with them where they paid their second visit in the summer of 1977. Since, in their past, the B.E.C. have shown an active interest in Austria,  I thought that members might like to know how things went.

C.U.C.C. set up camp by a lake in Alt Aussee, a sleepy little village some 80Km (50 miles) east of Saltzburg.  The scenery is spectacular in the extreme.  On the opposite side of the lake to our camp stood the Trisselwand, a sheer rock wall six times taller than the Avon gorge!  Our interest was focussed on the nearby Loser Plateau, a sharply undulating plain nearly 2000m (6,600ft) above sea level.  Until recently the plateau was inaccessible to anyone with anything short of a helicopter.  However, a few years ago, a road up there was built for the skiers and the plateau is now a brisk three quarters of an hour’s walk along dubious tracks from where the road ends.  The road itself is no trifling effort but a great autobahn affair zigzagging its way up the hillside.  Near the top, it has a heart-stopping hang gliders' take-off ramp.  The road is a toll road, and a car plus four people would cost about £3.50 per trip.  Before we parted with cash, however, a curious aspect of local attitudes was utilised. Cavers in Austria, and I believe in other parts of the continent too, are regarded as real heroes.  The words "Hohlen Forscher" were all that we needed to gain us free tolls, reduced camping fees and even free beer!

Once on the plateau, we began prospecting.  The tens of miles of lapiaz have rather daunted Carl, the only local caver.  He welcomed our extra manpower, pointed us in the right direction and essentially said "Explore whatever takes your fancy!"  I found that after the British caving scene, some adjustment of scale was necessary, both above and below ground.  Looking across the plateau; the Schonberg looked to be within spitting distance, but in fact it would have been a long days very tough walking.  Crossing the lapiaz was a real headache.  Unlike Yorkshire, this stuff is faulted, folded, over folded and has patches of tough, hardy vegetation growing all over it.  The plateau can be a very unfriendly place with its abundance of snakes and its very changeable weather.  In two minutes, prospectors can have their sunbathing (Oh!, what a giveaway!) interrupted by some very spectacular thunder and lightning and be pummelled by hailstones as big as marbles.  The run-off from these thunderstorms is so fast as to be almost comforting.  I am sure that if one were caught underground in a floodable passage (of which there are thankfully very few!) and not be drowned instantly, one could almost hold ones breath until the flood subsided!

When it comes to the caves themselves, finding the deep ones requires a little thought and a lot of luck. At first we looked at big open shafts, and found many fine and un-descended examples.  Some were up to 40m (130ft) deep, but they were invariably choked or plugged with snow.  A much better type of entrance to look for is the horizontal type.  A short section of horizontal development is all that is needed to protect subsequent shafts from the debris that chokes the open pots.  An additional clue for a good site we learned was the presence of a draught.  So healthy an indication of good things is a draught that we even hammered out the entrance to one cave - a Yorkshire trick that leaves the continentals absolutely staggered!  The subsequent hole led to a fine series of shafts before becoming too tight at about 250m (820ft) depth.  Although deep, this is nothing to what Loser could produce with its maximum depth potential being in the order of 900m (2,950ft).

As an example of the type of caves that we were finding, I include a survey of one of the caves with which I was personally involved.  We are provisionally calling our find the Eisluft Hohle.  The official Austrian number designated to a cave initially is only worth superseding by a name when the cave reaches some 150m (490ft) depth. The cave draughts outwards.  This we find very puzzling as the cave temperature is considerably lower than that outside.  The draught varies with the temperature of the atmosphere - implying a convection draught as opposed to a stream driven one - and there are no higher entrances that draught in.  Indeed, no entrances on the plateau seem to take an in-blowing draught.  We are still thinking this one out and would welcome any suggestions.

The cave has three entrances that each shares the draught.  These soon unite above a snow slope.  A handline descent of this leads to the top of Plugged Shaft which is over two hundred feet deep and broken by numerous but very small ledges.  The icy draught is at its strongest at the top of the shaft and on a good day difficulty was found in keeping carbide lamps alight.  Sound natural belays are scarce as all good looking flakes and threads just come off in your hand, so bolting was the order of the day.  This was very slow as the limestone is very hard and rock anchors soon blunted.  Half an hour’s hammering in the cooling breeze and the snow at the top of Plugged Shaft was nothing if not soul-destroying.

The shaft descends through snow plugs to a very dubious platform of dirty snow.  It was while standing on this that we began to wonder about the degree by which the caver's presence alters the cave environment. (I don't want to worry you chaps - but it's melting!)  Further down, the shaft enlarges and a small rock bridge is met. Behind the bridge is some horizontal passage to a shaft.  As time was short, we left this un-descended and followed the draught down the main shaft. The shaft ends at a chamber and some short horizontal passage that thank¬fully marks the end of the snow. Saved Shaft was descended to a chamber and a fearful looking boulder choke.  The draught filtered enticingly through the ruckle and, prudence lost, we crawled through to a rift beyond.  We reached a pitch and descended 32m (105ft) and pushed on to the head of another shaft, when we realised that we had lost the draught.  We therefore left this next shaft un-descended and returned and traversed over the pitch head to another up which the faithful old draught was blowing.  We then descended 30m (98ft) down this one, past a ledge to a rift passage.  This enlarged to a reasonable sized chamber with, a choice of routes onwards.  We had just about run out of tackle and, with the expedition nearing its end, time was short too.  We started the awesome task of de-rigging. (Yes, we were on ladders!)

We've left the cave with enough promise and question marks that I am sure will drag us back to it next year.  If you think that I’ve been a little rash in telling you of this unfinished find, then I might warn the would-be pirate that the Loser plateau is very, very big and the Eisluft Hohle, like many of Loser's caves, cannot be seen from more than five yards away!  And, whilst on his wandering’s across the unexplored lapiaz, the pirate might just find something better than the Eisluft Hohle.  How about it?  "Noch ein Bier, bitte!"

References:       Cambridge Underground 1977 - for details of C.U.C.C, finds in 1976

Cambridge Underground 1978 - to be published next spring/summer for details of finds on the 1977 expedition.


 

The Growth Of The B.E.C.

 

PART 6 - WHAT IT ALL MEANS

The improve model representing the growth of the club over the years is shown above and compared with the actual figures.  As may be seen, the fit between the two is not bad.  The improved model is in three parts.  The first of these, from 1943 to 1951, has a slightly lower slope than reality over its earlier portion, but the actual point at 1951 is correct.  The second part, from 1951 to 1957 is pretty accurate throughout and needs no further comment.  The final part, from 1957 to 1975 is slightly too high in its later years but, for various reasons, it is very difficult to correct this in a meaningful manner, and – taken in all – the model is good enough to explain the main features of the club’s growth which have been described in detail earlier in this series.

The changes between the three portions of the improved model have been made just by changes in the decrement (which represents the amount of satisfaction that members have in their club at anyone time).  It is possible to base a number of scales on the value of the decrement, and the one used is one in which the figure of 100 would represent perfect satisfaction - a state of affairs which can be defined, one where nobody ever leaves the club once they have joined.  A figure of 0 would represent complete dissatisfaction - with no member ever renewing his or her subscription.

On this scale, we would naturally expect to see a figure of satisfaction nearer to 100 than to 0. For instance, a figure of 50, if applied to the B.E.C. would have produced a club which would have built up to about 60 members with about 25 of these leaving and another 25 joining each year. In fact, the simple model gives an average value for satisfaction of 77.

The improved model has, of course, three different levels of satisfaction.  From 1943 to 1951 it is 80.  From 1951 to 1957 it is 70 and from 1957 onwards it is 86, although there is some evidence for a very slight drop in the early 1960's to possibly 83 or 84, but this is too fine for the analysis to tackle.

With this recording of satisfaction, we have gone about as far as we can with the figures and from here, we must guess.  What we are looking for are two, preferably related events which took place in 1950/1 and in 1957 which could have led to the changes we have noted.

Nothing can be found in the way of external events, such as the advent of the five day week or the end of petrol rationing.  Caving has already been eliminated, as have any changes in life at the Belfry.  The only thing which seems to fit is the B.B. itself.

In 1951, Harry Stanbury - the founder of the B.E.C. and currently Hon. Secretary, Hon. Treasurer and Editor of the B.B., resigned from the club committee and all his offices. Reading the B.B. before this date will show that it contained a great deal of news of club members and of social and other events on Mendip as well as caving news.  In other words, the B.B. formed a strong link between the club on Mendip and in Bristol and those members who could only appear at infrequent intervals.  Members thus tended to hang on to their membership so that they could find out what their friends were doing and what was going on 'on the hill'.

After Harry's resignation, his posts as Hon. Sec. and Hon. Treasurer were ably filled by the (then) young Bob Bagshaw.  The B.B. proved more difficult to get anyone to take on and for a year or so it was actually run from London by Don Coase and John Shorthose.  Even when Harry was persuaded to come back and edit it again, it was not the same. As Secretary, he had previously run features like 'From the Hon. Sec's Postbag' - which he could no longer write. Even members addresses were not published over most of the period 1951 to 1957.

In 1957, the B.B. was handed over by the A.G.M. to a group of active club members who produced most of the 'chat' which members said they missed and also gave the B.B. a facelift. It is interesting to note that the even more bigger and better B.B. produced under the editorship of Dave Irwin did not have a corresponding change in satisfaction.  It seems that while the club demands a minimum standard from its magazine, a great increase on this has no proportionate effect.

If any reader wonders why the portions of the curve flatten out when there has been no change in the figure of satisfaction, this is a natural function of this type of curve and does not actually mean that the club is doing any worse.

It only remains to explain the two 'frighteners'. The second of these obviously reflects the sudden doubling of the annual subscription in 1974.  The first can be associated with the opening of the campaign to collect money for a new Belfry.

Thus, in 1975 when the survey ended, the club still appeared to be 'on course' with its satisfaction at a high level.  It would seem that as long as its B.B. continues to give its members the sort of information they basically want and the club avoids sudden financial shocks to its members, there is little cause for concern.

What we cannot forecast is any change in the number of new members arriving each year.  The figure just announced by the Hon. Sec. is one of the lowest in the club's entire history.  It was worse in 1957 and, like then, the low figure this year may be an isolated case.  If it is a trend, then it will have to be watched and acted upon, but here we must be very careful.  At 34 effective years of age, the club has reached a stage where exactly half its members may be considered as 'permanent' and this percentage will rise so that it will become more and more important not to drive these members away.

What, then, can we do in the future?  It may well be that we live in times that are changing too rapidly for the type of analysis talked about in this series to be any of further use.  However, if this exercise has taught its author anything – it is that guesswork must be reduced to an absolute minimum if we are to take sensible decisions about anything which may affect the growth of the B.E.C.

S.J.C.


 

Monthly Crossword Number 79

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Across (Passages)

1. 14-18 vadose cave features?  (6)
4. Commercial concern as requirement for belays perhaps? (4)
7. London street in September.  (6)
8. Strongly assert topless speleologist. (4)
10. Serve rat going across. (8)
13. Cry a mixture of salts deposited in caves. (8)
16. Smirk – presumably at young sheep on Mendip. (4)
17. Will keep a climber as warm as anything in Oban or a kilt.  (6)
18. You might need a rope to this a 10 across if handholds are scarce. (4)
19.  Determines metallic content of ore. (6)

Down (Pitches)

1. It is cricket to make sure a belay is sound, for instance?  (4)
2. E.G. location of Pollnagollum. (4)
3. Large number on Mediterranean island for possible entrance shaft material. (8)
5. Turn upside down in vertical cave descent. (6)
6. Alcoholic French pioneer? (6)
11. Untidy leaves in autumn may blow into this cave. (8)
12. Laughable old Mendip inhabitant. (5)
14. The Hundred Acre field describes its this. (4)
15. Form of winter mountaineering transport? (4)

Solution to No. 78

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QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

Nominations

Once again, it is time for nominations for next years' committee. In case of any doubt, the rules are very simple.  You may nominate any club member - or as many as you like. You do not need a seconder. You DO have to ask those who you nominate if they would stand if elected. If they say not, or put in any conditions, they may not be nominated.  You do not need to nominate any members of the present committee who are automatically nominated if they agree to stand again.  As far as can be ascertained, all the present committee are, in fact, willing to stand again.

You should give or send your nomination or nominations to the Hon. Sec. and sign the paper and include your number if you know it.  You should also state that you have asked those concerned and they have said that they are willing to stand if elected.

Rumour has it that we can expect a fairly large number of starters for the committee election this year. Since we have had no election for two years now, it is an encouraging sign that so many members are taking an interest in the running of the club.

Club Officers Reports

In accordance with past practice, some of the Club Officers' reports will be found in this B.B.  The idea is, of course, to reduce the time taken at the A.G.M. by not having to read them out.  If members have questions to raise, they should make notes or bring this B. B. to the meeting.  The same applies to the minutes of the last A.G.M., which were printed in the June B.B.


 

The Growth of the BEC

PART FOUR - SECOND WIND

The Fourth part in our series on the growth of the club.

In the five years from 1957 to 1962, the club quite suddenly and dramatically expanded again at a rate nearly equal to its post-war growth.  From a situation in which the club seemed to have saturated at just over a hundred members it suddenly leaped into a position where it had nearly twice that number of members.  All this happened without any external factors like the ending of the war to account for the large growth.  It is thus a very remarkable occurrence.

Once again, the figures show that the increase cannot be accounted for by a greater number of new members arriving over the period.  In fact, over this period a total of 136 members joined the club, against a predicted total of 131, so we must look elsewhere for the reason.  It is, we find, entirely due to a sudden reversal of the previous trend.  Right across the board, members were now staying longer with the club and these lower  losses  entirely account for the spectacular increase in total membership.  After 1962, the increase levelled off, but we do not necessarily have to find a reason for this, because a sudden increase due to a change in the rate of leaving levels off naturally after a few years, as a new state of equilibrium is reached.  Admittedly, the actual levelling off is a little sharper than theory would suggest, but this can be accounted for by small fluctuations in the arrival of new members which was not, of course, entirely constant over the period.

Thus, we still have our original question to answer. What happened in 1951 which suddenly caused members to be less satisfied with the club, and what else happened (or what stopped happening) in 1957 which so dramatically reversed this trend?

We have already mentioned the fact that the discovery and exploration of St. Cuthbert’s had no effect on membership.  Neither did the ups and downs of the Belfry.  From 1954 to 1956, Belfry usage increased by no less than 42%, but it had no effect on the decline mentioned last month.  General club activities were, in fact, high over the entire period covered by the decline and the new upsurge in membership, with nothing changing in 1957 which would account for the sudden change in the satisfaction of club members with their club.

The next part of this series discusses the recent past - the period of time from 1962 to 1975 when the survey ends.  After this, the final part attempts to sort out what it all means and manages to put actual figures to this business of the satisfaction of members.  As was mentioned at the start of this series, it is not intended to bore readers with the actual maths, although this is available to any members who may be interested in the methods used in this survey of the growth of the club.

A Fill In

The hard men who climb on the Glyders
Are such that none ever considers
On seeing dense fogwen
They look at Llyn Ogwen
Their wives will be shortly their wyders.

P.S -  If your fill in is better, send it in.


 

Some Peaks in the North West Highlands

by Roy Bennett

Previous visits to this wet but delectable area have always been marred by continuous rain, but reports of the fine weather tempted us to try again.  The first choice was to the north of Ullapool where isolated Sandstone Mountains rise up from a rocky lochan strewn landscape.

The rocks responsible for this scenery are of particular interest because of their great age. Firstly, the pre-Cambrian Torridon Sandstone which is devoid of fossils  as it was laid down  before life on this planet had developed any hard parts.  In spite of its venerable age, the rock has lasted quite well and its massive beds normally lie at gentle angles giving rise to impressive mural precipices.  These sometimes give excellent rock climbing but often the cliffs are loose, lacking in belays and separated by horizontal bands of very steep grass.  It is succeeded by a White Cambrian Quarzite having Crinoids and other fossils and giving rise to its own mountain forms.

The rocky and widespread foundations of the mountain are composed of Lewisian Gneiss, an even older rock.  This forms part of the 'Shield' area of very old much altered rocks and was once continuous with similar rocks in Greenland and Arctic Canada, which it has been separated from by continental drift.  It is very resistant to weathering and it is often exposed in the area as a series of hummocks, rounded and grooved by the ice-age glaciers.

On our arrival in the area, it rained heavily.  The weather had been very good and it looked as if we were in for our usual luck. However, it cleared up quite suddenly, remaining changeable but improving for the rest of our holiday.

First choice for a 'limber up' was the well known Stac Polly, a fancy mountain some 2,000ft high and handy to the road.  It consists of a rocky be-pinnacled ridge offering some entertaining scrambling. Access was easy, up a steep path to a colon the, ridge.  From this point, the East summit was easily reach, returning to the col to start the more interesting scramble over the pinnacles to the highest point on the western end.  Where were some easy ways up most of these, with an awkward few moves over the 'bad step' to the western¬most and highest summit.  In all a very enjoyable little mountain.

After a few more rainy days, fine weather again tempted us out (unless you like plodding around mountains in the rain, some wet weather pursuit such as fishing, bird watching or sitting in a pub is essential).   The mountain chosen was Quinag and its most Northerly Torridon Sandstone peak rising as a great mountain wall when viewed from the west.  The traverse of the ridges connecting its various tops made a splendid trip especially as we were dropped off at one end.  The approach to this east summit was trackless, but was easy going apart from a crumby plod up steep, loose scree to the summit itself. Once there, the going was speedy along the ridges on good paths.  Time could not be spared to include the highest top which lies off to the south of the main ridge due to delay caused by a small dog chasing grouse (didn't catch any).  We caught up a little time on the descent from the final peak when we raced down almost continuous slabs of Quartzite on the dip slope of the mountain.

The next to be tackled was Suilven, the most spectacularly steep sided peak in Scotland.  It was a prominent landmark to the Viking raiders, raiding down the West coast, who called it Sul-Fjal or Pillar Mountain.  From the western view¬point it appears as a grassy dome sitting on a great prow-like semi-circle of almost vertical 800ft cliffs.  From either side, Suilven shows as a long ridge of 4 tops which from the other (western) end appears as a symmetrical pyramid of knife-edge steepness.

In short, a very attractive mountain but with one snag - due to some oversight it has been placed a rather long way from the nearest public road.  Our first approach was from the east where the OS map indicated a perfectly good foot¬path not mentioned in the S.M.C. guidebook.

This was difficult to find at first and then followed along the lake-side in bits and pieces, eventually to peter out altogether.  The going then became very heavy - up and down peat hags, heather and boggy clumps of grass with the mountain tantalisingly in the distance.  After about 2½ hours, we gave up and a glance at the map showed a pathetic distance covered.

The point being taken, I set off next day along one of the recommended paths to the mountain.  This was a splendid contrast to the previous day as these paths were put in for deer stalking in days when labour must have been cheap and readily available.  Their mode of construction was very similar to that of a road.  First of all a good line is taken, then a ditch is dug on the up¬slope side for drainage and the excavated material, where suitable, is used to raise up the path.  Large stones are removed from the levelled surface and drainage channelled under the paths provided at intervals.  Most still stand in good condition and are smooth enough to cycle over.  Walking on such a path becomes a pleasure all of its own, the legs work smoothly and efficiently and all the step breaking difficulties slide by defeated.  Lakes and rivers appear and pass by and sandpipers flute from the shallows.

In 2 hours, I was sitting at the foot of the mountain, after 5½ miles of approach with 1,000ft of ascent. Another hour was sufficient to climb to the bealach (col) and traverse by an easy path to the north peak - Castell Liath - the Grey castle.  This was quite unexpected, a large area of mossy grass curving gradually away on 3 sides to the invisible supporting cliffs.  The view from this isolated eminence was like that from an aeroplane. Immediately down was a Scandinavian landscape of hummocks and lochans hardly changed since the glaciers melted away many thousands of years ago.  Further away there was more grass and heather, then a few trees and houses - to the deep blue of the sea.  Costal features could be picked out 13 miles away.  Formerly there would have been more trees and habitations, but these were finally removed during the Highland clearances and the land is now derelict supporting only a few sheep and deer.

From the summit, steps were re-traced re-passing one of the most remarkable features of the mountain - a man-made dry stone wall erected across the mainly grassy ridge of the mountain from cliff top to cliff top.  The guide book mentions this, but I was not prepared for its size – 4ft thick at its base with a 5-6ft vertical height, built of massive squared off blocks laid in brick wall fashion.  It seemed enough to climb the mountain without carrying out such work at the top. From the bealach, an easy path led over a subsid¬iary top to the highest point.  To reach the small summit plateau of this there was a bit of a climb up a broken wall.  The usual route was to return from here but - look across the valley suggested a change of plan.  There was a good path to the head of the nearby loch which could be reached from the end of the mountains east ridge and after some hesitation I set out in this direction.

There was not much of a path and interest quickened.  This part of the mountain was clearly not so often visited, but the guide books claimed there was no real difficulty.  A long descent over loose rocks and grass led to a col, the sides of which fell away steeply. Beyond was a vertical wall to a sub¬sidiary peak which turned on the left via some vegetated ledges.  From the flat top of the peak, the East Ridge led comfortably down in a series of grassy ledges.  A surprised ptarmigan scuttled off without flying to draw attention away from her two mottled yellow chicks.  I spoke to it but it did not answer.  On down, and a thought struck.  The river from the loch had been crossed by a bridge - now I was proposing to cross higher up - and there was no bridge.  Too late to turn back, but the river was low in its stony 'bed' when reached.  It was crossed by use of some rickety stones and I was soon cruising steadily along a good path back to civilisation.

Some sightseeing followed including visits to Loch Laxford - with its glac¬iated landscape.  Handa Island, home of the dreaded Great Skuas, and Smoo Cave at Durness.  The weather continued to be fine and we were drawn south to Torridon to avenge the continuous rain of previous visits.  This is a Mecca for mountaineers where the Sandstone peaks reach their maximum height and the mountains are laid out in long continuous ridges.

Firstly, Ben Damph was climbed, a gentle amble through resinous pine woods to a spacious corrie leading on to the long, broad, switchback to a summit with extensive views.

The finale was the traverse of Ben Eighe, the longest of the Torridon ridges and the only one largely composed of Cambrian Quartzite.  In this, the tiered verticality of the Torridonian Sandstone is replaced with sharp arêtes flanked by enormous spreads of white scree, giving the mountain a dingy snow covered appearance.  The scree is noteworthy, being mainly composed of angular blocks like small half-bricks which slide tiringly underfoot on ascents - and it is too coarse to run when descending.

From the usual starting point near the eastern end of the mountain, a heathery path leads to a few dotted remnants of former pine forest to an extensive plateau thinly vegetated with dwarf juniper and other shrubs.  From this a ridge, rocky at first, then completely scree, rose between scree corries to¬wards the first summit.  These corries have a cold desolate appearance intimidating to the solo walker.  Apart from one long slope of loose scree, the first ascent was not too taxing and 2 hours after leaving the road, the first summit was reached.  The scene was enlivened by a patch of dwarf sax¬ifrage, covered with rosy, inch-high flowers, and there were extensive mountain views in all directions.

Upwind, towards the south-east however, there was a spreading pall of bad¬ weather which looked as if it would catch up about half way along the ridge.  After a quick bite to eat I set off, whilst behind a subdued battle was being fought between the southern depression and the high-pressure weather which had served us so well.  A summit and a half later, interest was quickened by a series of small towers on the ridge - the Black Carls of Ben Eighe.  These were soon passed and the next summit reached.  By this time, the wind was backing steadily to northerly and the weather became a past problem, pinned down in the distance.

The rocky ridge continued to another summit past some remarkable rock scenery sculptured by the Quartzite jointing.  One particular gully had absolutely vertical sides so that it was no wider at the top than the deeply descending bottom, 100ft below.  The ridge also showed unexpected verticality and in one place a look over the path edge showed sheer rocks disappearing under ones feet in an overhang.

A steep scree and loose rock descent, best forgotten, and a more pleasant ascent gave more summit views. Back along the ridge two small back dots could be seen in the distance - the nearest I got to seeing any other walkers on the mountain that day - rather different to the Snowdon Horseshoe or Helvellyn!

A long ridge led on, becoming softer underfoot.  A tactical error resulted in a dismal backtrack to take in the highest summit spurring off to the North.  A coffee-break restored flagging spirits and the final section was started with a plod up a mossy meadow.  In sharp contrast the ridge beyond dropped away in a series of great vertical rock steps which were bypassed with much leaping about to a col.  A final plod up to the final summit Sail Mhor.  From here it was all down, threading a way round bits of cliff on the easy angled slopes south of the ridge.  Remnants of energy were squandered on rattling down the tourist path to the road, where tired feet could be dabbled in a sun-warmed stream.

The whole trip had taken 7½ hours including stops and errors and about 11 miles had been covered with a total ascent of about 5,000ft.  The actual length of the ridge, excluding bits done twice, was nearly six miles. In all a very nice end to the holiday.


 

A Dryish Easter in the Lakes

Having carried out a bit of begging for articles it is gratifying to get two excellent articles from the Climbers - if you are not yet satiated read on the King family have joined forces to deliver an account of the Lakes.

by Kangy, Jonathan & Philip King

A pity about today. It started well enough and looked as if it would be scorchingly hot.  We dawdled over breakfast and closed up the little tent but were forced back into it at mid-afternoon by closing time and torrential rain.  Lying cosily in warm pit turned the yarning to Easter in the Lakes this year which was not at all wet.

The Haystacks at Buttermere was our first outing.  It's Ivy Bonner's favourite walk and we don't mind!  The long pull up from the lake fills the lungs, restores the circulation and sorts out the lads so that they have sobered up for the walk around the tops. The views are extensive and always appreciated.  After the winter hazes have cleared from the eyes, everything seems to be in glorious Kodachrome (or Agfa-colour for those with defective colour sense) and the absolutely superb view of the end of Buttermere in a golden light stopped us all in our tracks.

A FULL FRONTAL

A day later, when Alan Bonner and I came to look for our sons, they had vanished into the recesses of the Bonners' old farmhouse.  Not pushing the matter of whether they would like a day out with us or not, Alan and I faced up to a day on our own.  "Where? says Alan, Grasmoor says I and thinking no more about it off we went. Well, on the way and with the weather as it was, and with the feeling of spring in the air, an urge to do a ridge route became stronger.  There was much discussion and the feeling became mutual until two mountaineers had their blood up and felt irresistible!  And as we saw Grasmoor we saw what we had to do.  The challenge lay in the west face of Grasmoor.  Viewed edge on, from the north to the south, it presents the appearance of a steep ridge and provides the clue to the ascent because the choice of route is bewildering.  The geometry of the face is that of a cottage loaf with a side sliced off. The detail is of a series of steep cliffs springing out of the scree slopes and preventing access to the ridges and gullies of the upper section.  The whole is about two thousand feet of intricate steep rock.  It was at the worst a frightful slog and at the best a delightful test of mountaineering skills.

We planned our route as best we could from what we could see of the fore¬shortened face and from what we could remember of the view from the side as we drove up.  The long upper ridges would be our objective and to get to them we would have to penetrate the lengthy steep rock wall which belted in the lower face.  The right hand side was lower and more broken and offered more chances of a breakthrough. It led to a diagonal traverse, which went above the main cliff but below smaller tiered cliffs and then back onto the main line.  From here we could link with the longest and steepest ridge, the sky¬line ridge, which finished in a cwm. The exit from the cwm would have to be found when we arrived but ideally would be a continuation of the main ridge.

Happy planning completed, we pulled on our boots, stuck some wind proofs into a sac with some grub and stumped off across Lanthwaite Common.  By the time we had reached a small knoll set against the scree we were nicely warmed.  The scree here was stabilised with vegetation and we climbed this carefully to steepening rocks at its head.  A way was found up a small gully amidst heather until suddenly the pressure of the slope ceased and we could walk freely on an almost grassy terrace.  The main cliff rose directly from the back of the terrace.  It was vertical.  We prospected towards the left where it was taller but the terrace gave out in steep rocks and the wall began to overhang.  Towards the right seemed to give a level of difficulty for which we were looking but first we tried a twenty foot pinnacle just for the joy of rock climbing.

It defeated us mainly because it was difficult to see how we could escape from it and we didn't want to commit ourselves with the main climb still to be done.  Alan then tried to the right and led out across a rising traverse and climbed a small corner to the higher terrace.  I joined him, where we found that the terrace ran back to the left and upwards at forty-five degrees gaining height satisfactorily to the start of the ridge we wanted.

The beginning of the ridge was broad and composed of short steep walls which we could monkey up enjoyably. As we climbed higher the choice of route became more restricted until we were scrambling up a true ridge which occasion¬ally steepened to a rock wall making a traverse necessary to maintain the impetus of our progress.  We began to get an exhilarating feeling of height as the gullies either side converged in perspective onto the brown screes with Lanthwaite Common spread map like below.  Like all good things, our ridge came to an end and flattened into the grass slopes of the upper cwm.

The view from here was great and we sat sweatily and steamed mightily whilst drinking it in.  We gazed contentedly and then gradually turned to the cwm and made a technical appraisal of the final climbing difficulties.  Far to the right was a good looking arête but to reach it we would have to descend.  Coming round, towards the centre, were nasty looking cliffs of vegetatious rock, then some straight forward gullies, and, most interesting of all, a clean rock buttress which marked the start of the continuation ridge. There were more escape routes to the left, so feeling that we were fail safe we went to rub our noses against the buttress to see if it really was as steep as it looked.  We thought at first we might have to cheat a bit and get onto the ridge higher up by climbing the gully bed, but the buttress could be climbed straightforwardly by a slight outflanking move and with good big holds on clean steep rock.  We moved up and soon got into the swing of ridge scrambling once more.

The angle soon eased and the ridge gave out onto the rounded grass slopes below Grasmoor summit.  A brisk walk with the wind pushing got us to the top.  We were glad of our anoraks, didn't linger and raced down the incredibly evenly graded path by Gasgale Gill.  I'd hate to walk up it.  Two miles long in a grim grey craggy vee of a gorge and very boring.  Alright for running down though.

The big day for Jonathan and Philip King and Timothy Bonner (aged 14, 12 and 12 years respectively) was their attempt on Scafell Pike.  Jonathan and Philip describe it in their own words.

SCAFELL PIKE – 3,210 Feet

We left our friends farmhouse at about 8.00 and drove for about an hour to Seathwaite.  Here we changed and prepared for the walk by putting on water¬proofs because it looked as if it would rain.

We walked a wet path becoming steep past the waterfall called Taylorgill Force.  As we went past the waterfall, we had to climb through a small steep valley over bare rock.  At the top of the waterfall we crossed the stream to avoid the regular route which had become worn and muddy.  By this time we were quite hot but when we stopped in the shelter of the Mountain Rescue Hut at Sty Head we soon began to feel the cold.  We shared out our Easter Eggs and ate them overlooking the tarn below. The weather looked as though it would get steadily worse.  Starting off again we followed the course of a small stream going towards the cliffs. Alan mentioned that we were going up the guide routes.  At this point we saw our first snow.  We went into a steep gully following the path carefully round a deep drop leading to the snowfield.  After this steep part of the path it flattened out a bit and snowflakes started to fall.  The visibility was still quite good.   There were two possible paths ahead, one indirect around the snow, one directly through the middle.  The party decided to go up through the snow and Jonathan was asked to cut the steps. He described it as follows:-

"The first few steps were difficult until I was told how to use the ice-axe.  You swing it, letting the weight of the axe do the work. After a time I got into the rhythm, the snow field began to get steeper so Alan told me to cut the steps in zig-zags and closer together.  The difficulty was that when trav¬ersing you have to cut across the slope and the snow was hard making it difficult to out a decent step.  I was so occupied with this that I did not realize that the wind was getting up until I turned from a zig-zag and caught the full force of the wind and snow in my face.  This slowed me up because it put me out of rhythm.  Every time I wanted to swing the axe I was blinded by snow and the wind pushed me off balance.  At this point I felt that the people behind had the ad¬vantage because they could lean on their axes.  I felt very unsafe and asked that someone who was used to cutting steps could relieve me.

Alan took over.  As we swapped places I looked down.  It was an almost total 'white out'.  You could not tell which was snow and which was sky. In what seemed ages as I clung to a precarious hold, I found that the position of following was no easier than that of leading".

The slope was very steep and we moved over gradually to some rocks.  At the rooks we found the path.  On the path were a worried man and his wife with their two small children. The man wanted to know the quickest way down the mountain and out of the cloud.  Alan took them down part way while we went on slowly up.  Because we were going slowly I (Philip) could feel the cold seeping in and penetrating though I was still enjoying it very much. The blizzard of snow increased and to our relief Alan rejoined us.  He told us that we were not very far from the summit and sure enough after following the well-cairned path the summit cairn appeared out of the mist.  We were now the highest people in England and we waved our ice axes on the summit. Not being able to stand the bitingly cold wind for long in such an exposed place we took shelter behind the huge cairn.

We shared out some more chocolate and then set off over easy slopes towards Esk Hause.  Surprisingly once out of the cloud the terrible wind dropped off and we could relax.  The air was remarkably clear and our eyes took quite a time to adjust to the brightness of the snow.  We slid down a large, previously unspoilt, snowfield standing on our inverted ice axe heads as little skis (quickly changing back to the correct position when Daddy turned around).  Meanwhile, Jonathan started to ski standing up on his boots using his ice axe as a rudder. When we reached the bottom we caught up with Alan and Daddy and snowballed them.  At Esk Hause we had lunch with sticky cake, shortbread and toffee called Supergoo and hot drinks from Thermos flasks.

The rest of the trip was uneventful with good views and it was satisfying that we had done our climb in good time and could see other parties struggling to get up the mountain.

Secretarial

There were no New Members clamouring to get into the club this month but we bid a welcome return to:

792 Ken James, Flat 2, 9 Shrubbery Road, Weston Super Mare.
687 Viv Brown, 3 Cross Street, Kingswood, Bristol
800 M.D. Taylor, 39 Reedley Road, Westbury on Trym, Bristol.

Change of address: Claire Chambers has temporarily changed her address to 70 Rush Hill, Bath.  She will tell us her permanent move when she can find a flat.


 

1977 AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the Bristol Exploration Club will be held at the Belfry on Saturday 1st October 1971.  The start is scheduled for 10.30 am.  It is anticipated that the meeting will continue into the pm and there will be the usual provision of a Beer plus Cheese & Onion in the break.  This year it is hoped that appreciation will be made that a reasonable charge must be made to cover the cost of the barrel and refreshments.

THE SECRETARY’S AGENDA

Nominations for and Election of Chairman - who will preside at the Dinner.

THE CHAIRMAN’S AGENDA

will include:-

Collection of Members Resolutions
Selection of Tellers for the election.
Minutes of the Last Annual General Meeting - As published in the June BB.
Matters arising from the Minutes
Hon. Secretary's Report
Hut Warden's Report
Hut Engineer's Report
BB Editor's Report
Publications Report
Librarian’s Report
Caving Secretary's Report
Climbing Secretary’s Report
Tacklemaster’s Report
Hon. Treasure’s Report - together with Auditor's comment.
IDMF Report
Member’s Resolutions
Any Other Business.

The results of the election will be announced immediately prior to the lunch break.  This will be followed by a meeting of the officers elected under the Chairmanship of the AGM Chairman - to elect officers to posts. Members may vote for a maximum of nine candidates (although the committee may number up to a maximum of 12). Nominations should be given as soon as possible to the Secretary.  Nominations to date received are the whole of the present committee (with some reservations on posts) plus the following: Bob Cross, Martin Grass, Maureen Wheadon, Brenda Wilton.  Russ Jenkins is still able to attend meetings when his shift work permits and Chris Batstone has said that he has had enough of being Hut Warden but will serve in another post.


 

The Festering Column

by Plagiarist

Your friendly plagiarist has had to be pestered into turning out something for the BB at quite short notice and as a result I haven't managed the greatest in stealing from others and have had to rely to some extent on originality.  Still, never mind I'm told that every little helps.

Talking of little I'm sure that it hasn't escaped your notice that our very own Richard Stevenson together with Martyn Farr or is it Fartyn Mar? went to (and came back its sad to report) Persia.  There was a remarkable lack of discovery I understand but there is a wealth of fable for those who wallow in line shooting.  Still they had a free holiday on the BBC and I believe the programme was scheduled for 19.15 on July 17th.  Notice how late I am in telling this fact - I suppose that it will be just as late when we get an article on the trip written up in the BB.

Another interesting historical fact is the marathon push that took place on 11th June in Wookey (together with its follow up on the 18th).  This also had negative results as regards material extension to the cave system. Still at 150ft depth even the bravest are not to be blamed for being careful.  Sump 25 has now reached a UK cave diving depth record after approx 250-300' of progress and it doesn't seem that a breakthrough into Wookey 26 will be possible this year.  Anyway it definitely provides some challenge to our up and coming tigers.

The recent collapse of the Tynings entrance is a shame and has temporarily we hope, prevented access. Although this was a joint club venture under some obscure title invented especially for the purpose the T.I.T.S. put in a lot of work and it is only to be hoped that entry into this quite fine swallet will be made possible again.

Who says the BEC never goes caving?  (We know 'tis true but) a EEC team, assisted by many and varied sherpas invaded Devon and attempted a push into furthering Pridd’lausleigh (my slip – sorry!).  The divers are reported to have successfully reached the bottom of the second lake and managed to run out miles of line but no further discoveries have been reported - yet another article for the BB sometime?

The intention to either gate or (worse) fill in Ludwell was successfully resolved by the Axbridge CC. It was gated and the key is available from the farm.  Sad to say Hollowfield and Flower Pot (the joy of Ken James) has not been dealt with so successfully and the entrances are now blocked.

Cuthbert’s apart from being the subject of many written reports has been the site of dye testing (in conjunction with Wookey 24) to the resurgence.  Willie Stanton has found that the volume of water beyond 24 is of the order of 3X of that downstream from 24.  This is (I'm told) absolutely daunting to those who have seen the variation of the flooded section of Wookey as far as 24.

After that last snippet I think that Plagiarist will have to go but there remains a few more snippets from :

The BEC are now digging again, this time in Wigmore Swallet.

Cow Hole has been re-opened by Cerberus.  The entrance is now improved and reported to be only 'horribly unstable'.

Finally, The Nature Conservancy Wardens have decided that it is time they covered over the entrance of Timber Hole (more news as to whether this is to be permanent or not soon).


 

Monthly Crossword Number 77

 

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Clues

1. I led pub role – out of a ruckle, presumably!  (7,4)
2. Backward part for sump? (4)
3. Apart from half a rift for example. (5)
4. One should do this oneself to a lifeline. (6)
5. Light the Wig.  The result being mush easier to tackle! (11)
6. Visitor’s accident description or routine expedition in Cuthbert’s? (7,4)
7. Beds are normally this in Mendip caves. (6)
8. Reach end of cave – and feel the muscular effects within. (4)
9. Many pounds per square foot in hidden series. (5)
10. Steal apples – or their product, perhaps. (6)
11. Wookey is this to the public. (5)
12. ‘As I tell you’ to use an army expression, rather than this. (2,1,2)
13. Crystalline substance found in cavern’s parts. (4)
14. Southern Railway mobile unit taken by lifeline sometimes.  (6)
15. …..which is made of this, naturally!. (4)
16.  Measure pitches for a Grade 2 survey? (5,6)

Solution to No. 76

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Club Headquarters

The Belfry, Wells Rd, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Telephone WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      M. Wheadon

Members           C. Batstone, P. Christie, J. Dukes, R. Jenkins T. Large, Barry Wilton, G. Wilton-Jones.

Officers Of The Club

Honorary Secretary             M. WHEADON, 91 The Oval, Englishcoombe, Bath.  Tel : BATH 713646

Honorary Treasurer             B. WILTON, ‘Valley View’, Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol. Tele : TEMPLE CLOUD 52072

Caving Secretary                TIM LARGE, 15 Kippax Avenue, Wells, Somerset

Climbing Secretary             R. JENKINS, 10 Amberley Close, Downend, Bristol.

Hut Warden                        C. BATSTONE, 8 Prospect Place, Bathford, Bath..

Belfry Engineer                   J. DUKES, 4 Springfield Crescent, Southampton. SO1 6LE  Tele : (0703) 774649

Tacklemaster                     G. WILTON-JONES, ‘Ilenea’, Stonefield Road. Nap Hill, High Wycombe, Bucks. Tele : (024) 024 3534

B.B. Editor                         S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishops Sutton, Nr. Bristol.  Tel : CHEW MAGNA 2915

Publications Editor              C. HOWELL, 131 Sandon Road, Edgebaston, Birmingham 17.  Tele : (021) 429 5549

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

 

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.