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QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

Dilemma

Our esteemed Hon. Sec. puts his finger on a weakness in the system we use to determine who does what on the club committee.  In his secretarial column this month, he suggests that comments would be useful, so here is the editor's comment which is not, repeat NOT the official view of the committee but merely the editor's opinion as a club member.  Since we have had no election for two years, and thus many of our current members have never voted, I feel that Mike's point is of importance this year.

At one time, when the club was much smaller, all the officers were elected by show of hands, one at a time, at the A.G.M.  Later, when we decided to allow members to vote by post if they wished, it was thought to be too complicated to elect each officer because of all the possible permutations ("I would like A to be Hut Warden, rather than B, but if B gets elected, then I would like A to be Caving Sec.  On the other hand if C gets to be Caving Sec, then …" - and so on.) So we adopted a system where we elected nine blokes to run the club and left them to sort it all out.  Even more recently, we have gone in for a secret ballot amongst members of the newly-elected committee to avoid any embarrassment during the voting.  All of this sounds fine BUT, as Mike points out, there are snags.

Many people, for instance, hold the view that if a man is elected to the committee, he should be prepared to take any job he is offered.  In practice, this is not so and Mike is by no means alone when he points out that he wishes to take on no other job than that of Hon. Sec.  He suggests that Barrie feels the same about being Hon. Treasurer and I might add that I cannot nowadays see myself doing anything other than my present jobs.  I should not be at all surprised if there are not other members of the present committee who hold similar views.  Thus, in practice, voting for some people is mainly done on the understanding that they will do certain jobs when elected - whatever the club's system might imply.

To my mind, even worse trouble occurs when somebody gets elected to the committee who, through no fault of his own, upsets what would otherwise be a natural choice of jobs for people.  When this happens, other members of the committee are then left with no job to do. This is not just a theory, for I found myself in exactly this position after being elected to the committee in the election of October 1967, when I came third in the poll and finished up five minutes after the start of the first committee meeting with nothing whatever to do.  As a result, I did not seek re-election in 1968.  I am not, of course, claiming that this did the club any harm, but there could well be times when considerable harm might be done.  For instance, a man could be doing a particular job pretty well, but the committee might elect another on the basis that they thought he could do the job even better.  The first man (I ought to add that wherever I have written 'man' it implies 'person') might not feel able to take on anything else, and might resign or not bother to stand next year.  The second man might not be able to stand again, and the result would be the loss of a good club officer.

Thus, I feel that members, when voting, should consider who is likely to be asked to do each of the main jobs, and what will probably happen if there are two natural contenders for anyone job.  The result might well be a committee having people in it who have come high up in the voting only to find themselves redundant.  In this case, the committee may well be forced to co-opt straight away. If a person is so co-opted who has just lost out in the election, the committee might well feel that they have gone against the wishes of the club - yet what else can they do?

As I see it voters must consider this point in particular, when they choose who is to be on the club committee.

Raising The Tone

Both readers who do the Monthly Crossword will be pleased to see that this month's crossword is much better than usual.  Many thanks to Margaret Innes (Angus’s wife) for having sent in a crossword which not only fits the current series, but is much better composed than is my usual rubbish.

Annual Dinner

A full-page advert for the dinner will be found in this B.B.  It only remains to add that the A.G.M. will be held at the Belfry, starting at 10.30 (I presume, unless you hear to the contrary) and that as many members as possible are urged to attend.  Mike tells me that this year it will be run strictly according to the book (which means that I don't have to write the minutes, thank God) and that he will be formally handing over the meeting to the Chairman when elected who, according to tradition, will later act as M.C. at the dinner.


 

The Growth Of The B.E.C.

The third part of a series in which the membership figures for the B.E.C. over the years are examined to see if any conclusions can be drawn from them, and if it will be possible to see why the club has had periods of prosperity and periods - like the one in this article of relative decline.

PART THREE – BAD PATCH……(1951 to 1957)

Our last article left the club with its membership way up above the predicted value.  The impetus, it is true, was beginning to slow up, but there appeared to be nothing to worry about.

This month's graph is, however, a sorry-looking object.  In contrast with the expansion shown in last month's article, the club actually - and steadily - DECREASED in size from 1951 to 1957.  At the start of this bad patch, the club had 131 members, which put it at 12 above the predicted level, while at the end of the bad patch, it had sunk to 117 - or 27 members short of those predicted.

Now, it is important to realise that the figures can show why this happened in terms of how many people joined the club, and how quickly or slowly they dropped away again.  What the figures cannot do is to tell us WHY. That is something we have to make our own intelligent guesses about.  During the expansions of 1946 and of 1948/9, it was not difficult to see the cause.  The decline of the club from 1951 to 1957 is much more difficult to pinpoint to any cause.

The figures show that we cannot blame the decline on the effect of the 1948 batch (which was disappearing rapidly) because this effect was near enough balanced by the 1946 group (which was hanging on despite everything) and these two effects cancel each other out.  Equally, the decline cannot be blamed on the lack of new members (who were arriving in average quantity throughout the period of decline).  The decrease in membership was simply due to the fact that greater than average losses occurred in nearly every batch.  In other words, members suddenly began to leave the club earlier than one might expect, and this did not depend on how long they had been members.  For some reason, the club had stopped keeping its members happy - old and young alike.

In 1953, the club discovered a major Mendip cave right on its own doorstep AND negotiated an access agreement which, in those days, virtually meant that any caver 'who wanted to explore Cuthbert’s regularly had to be a member of B.E.C.  One might reasonably expect that this would have given membership a boost, but IT HAD NOT THE SLIGHTEST EFFECT.  Indeed, the year following the discovery of Cuthbert’s was the worst of the whole period.

What happened in 1951, which suddenly caused members to be dissatisfied with the club?  Why did this even more dramatically stop happening in 1957? External events nave been looked at, but nothing appears to fit these dates.  At the end of this series, a theory will be advanced to explain all this, but in the mean time, readers may like to speculate - in the B.B. if they wish - on what factor or factors could have caused the bad patch, which ended so suddenly in 1957.


 

Secretarial

It is to be hoped that we are now over our BB production troubles and it will be possible to produce a regular secretarial feature carrying current information.  News on the membership front includes: -

The return of Bob Cross (680) both to renewal of membership and to Mendip Area.  His address is, once again, 42 Bayham Road, Knowle, Bristol BS4 2DR.  Then there is the Palmers - Mike moved his address some time ago and each time I remembered that I’d not published it, it was too late for inclusion anyway, you can find him at Laurel Farm Yarley Hill, Yarley, Wells - tele Wells 74693.

New Members - Some of these new members now seem like old members so I might have included their names and addresses previously.  If I have, here they are again and if not -then my apologies for the delay.

912 J.E.K. Turner           Orchard Cottage, 92 Church Lane, Backwell, Avon BS19 3JW
913 K.S. Baker 36 Northumberland Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 7BD.
914 B.J. Workman         Moreland, 11 Bath New Road, Radstock, Avon.
915 C.M. Smart             15 Timor Close, Popley Islands, Basingstoke.
916 J. Wilson    6 Sparrow Farm Road, Stoneleigh, Epsom, Surrey KT17 2JL.
917 B. Hervin     75A Murhill, Limpley Stoke, Nr Bath.
918 R.H. Round             131 Middleton Road, Banbury, Oxon.
919 T.L. Temple             2 Larch Close, Lee-on-Solent, Hants.
920 N. Holstead             75A Murhill, Limpley Stoke, Nr Bath
921 P. Rose      2 The Beacon Ilminster. (tel 2612).

The AGM will be upon us in a few months and I would like to take this opportunity to remind all members (just in case the BB should drift again) that nominations for candidates for the committee are needed to be received by at least the end of August. The club constitution rules that unless they specify otherwise, the present committee members are automatically nominated.       The Club held no election last year, the vacancies in the committee being filled by the only nominations received by the closing date.  It is time we had an election.

I have not yet canvassed the committee to see if all are willing to seek re-election but it is hoped that I shall be able to broadcast this news soon.  I after much consideration I decided that I will seek re-election and it has presented me with something of a dilemma.  Some time ago Mike Palmer devised and introduced a system where the newly elected committee held their own ‘mini election’ to allocate posts.  This system must be adhered to until or unless the A.G.M. allows any departure from it - hence my dilemma – for with my decision to seek re-election goes the decision that I wish no other post than that of Secretary (Barrie I think feels the same about the Treasurer's job) and there are several posts on the committee for which I would have no competence e.g., Hut Warden.  This statement, were it followed by my election, would imply that the club membership was satisfied with my performance of the task and would therefore over-ride the 'mini election' - perhaps the AGM should consider this and comments in the BB would be welcomed.  Incidentally, if anyone else is interested in the Secretary post, it at present includes the Minute Secretary duties and Membership Secretary in addition to General Club Correspondence.

I see that I’ve now left an embarrassingly small space for our Editor to fill so I’ll save him the trouble.

Pete and Joyce Franklin are busy on a Magnum Opus for Dinner Entertainment.  Any budding thespians wishing to audition for parts should ring Bristol 683084.

Chris Batstone is fed up with washing up hence the removal of most of the general utensils about the Belfry.  Kettle, Teapot, Mugs will remain and he will try to keep one of everything else available.

Hut Fees are rising and from August 1st the rate will be 30p Members 45p for Guests. Trip leaders are requested to see that Shower fees are collected.


 

Snow and Ice in North Wales

A short article sent in by our Climbing Sec. Russ Jenkins, which shows that the B.E.C. still goes climbing - at least, it did last February

Around midnight on Friday, the 11th of February, we arrived at Helyg, the climbers hut in the Ogwen Valley.  The three of us, Kangy; his friend Mark James who is headmaster of Brockworth Comprehensive School near Gloucester, and the prospective liberal candidate for the Cabot Ward of Bristol, together with your Climbing Sec. had estimated that the second week in February was usually O.K. for snow and ice in Wales.

After breakfast the usual low cloud had drifted away and snow could be seen above the Heather Terrace in Tryfan.  Mark and I were both giving new boots a first outing and we set off for Tryfan, the base of which is about a mile and a half from Helyg, past William's Farm.  After a steady ascent to Heather Terrace (for the combined ages of the three of us amounted to well over a hundred years!) we could feel the cold from the snowdrifts.  We were on the shady North Face and so decided on North Buttress - a route of 750 feet to the summit ridge.  This was first climbed at Easter in 1899 by the famous O.G. Jones Abraham Pulterill.

The first patches were interesting as they were running with water, but eventually we were forced off the rock and had to kick steps up a sixty degree slope towards the summit. It then began to snow, and the exit ramp to Adam and Eve was like a skating rink. A pause in the lee of the two rock boulders for raisins and biscuits, and then we were off down.  We lost height rapidly by glissading a derriere using our cagoules as toboggans.  Down past the snow line we tramped, down Cwm Tryfan, past Williams Farm and back to Helyg and later to the pub.

After breakfast on Sunday morning, we crossed the A5 in the opposite direction and made for the Carneddau. Shunning the new tarmac strip up to the reservoir, we used the conventional route and we were soon up once again to the snow line.  After the now familiar and much sought after raisins, we began to slog up to the summit ridge between Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn.

The weather closed in and the clouds descended and it began to snow.  We were soon kicking steps again, except that where my four stone lighter companions were only sinking down a foot with each step, I was going in about two foot six on occasions.  The weather improved after we got to the summit and the view made it all worthwhile. There was a cornice on the ridge and the views of Pen-yr-Oleu-Wen and Tryfan were superb.  We scrambled off from the ridge and skirted the lake on its other side and then back down the hillside to the hut to complete a round trip of about six miles.  My feet were sure glad of a rest!

Helyg is a male only hut and the rate is 50p a night.  The hut is well appointed, with a drying cupboard powered by a fan heater and the resident Hut Warden lives in a small room - or large cupboard - suspended (!) over the kitchen.


 

Committee News

Applications for membership were accepted from Anthony Jarratt, Trevor Hughes and William Collis. It was agreed to continue the removal of utensils from the Belfry.  Work on the bunkroom is to go ahead, and it was hoped that it would be in a reasonable state before the International Speleological Conference.  It is planned to fit out the bunks gradually with police type mattresses.  These are very expensive but are almost indestructible.  There is to be some modification to the shower arrangements, but the matter of the central heating is now at a standstill, since no scheme within the financial capability of the club had so far been proposed.  Since the meeting, Barrie has managed to find a source of cheap paper for the B.B., which has finally overcome the problem we have had this year of having to buy paper at full retail prices.  Graham reported that all the new ladders which were planned had now been made and that Mike Palmer had supplied us with 'C' links.  It was agreed that the fee for anyone using the Belfry for protracted periods of time will be £8.00 per week.  The committee were to point out to the local council that the signpost to Priddy Pool was incorrect - and suggest that they refer to the O. S. map for the location of Priddy Pool.


 

Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

One of the brighter aspects of fancy dress parties is that we are sometimes treated to the response of the we-eg at the Hunters when odd members turn up in unusual attire and on the 2nd of July, on the way to a housewarming at Yarley, we were treated to some rare sights, such as Liz in a mattress cover and fangs with Martin in soda sacks and more hair than usual.  Amazing!  They must be saving up for a new car or something.  Then there was Derek Targett, superbly realistic as a werewolf, whilst Tom Gage was a rather black skeleton and Colleen a very presentable ghost from BRI (chains and all - could be described as looking flushed!).  Graham W-J turned up as some sort of extremely warm-blooded sea monster and John Dukes the usual corpse.  Graham, of course, we expect to drape himself from head to foot at the drop of a beret, but it was quite warm and with top coats on all the others looked rather limp when they left.  The actual party, by the way, was a success.

The club has suffered recently from a lack of expeditionary spirit, but cheer up; things are improving. There seems to be a move afoot to infiltrate the Midlands.  Jon-Jon and Richard were recently in Scratching-land, and only last weekend, Barrie and Brenda joined the trekkers.  The Dooleys and Butch now hold the key to this territory and are prepared to issue passports for an appropriate fee in used notes of small denomination.  Barrie treats the whole thing rather lightly by declaring that, although all pubs are on the way to the Hunters, this particular route is rather lengthy.

Some things, never change, do they?  One of our members passing through Sutton on the way to Hunters decided to call in at the Collins residence only to find him in a mildly inebriated state flat out on the kitchen floor with a young lady in his arms (shocking).  Sett was asleep in another part of the cottage and the only survivors seemed to be Sally, Jan and Graham.  I comment on this only because the visit was made in the evening - and it was at lunchtime that all the drinking had been done.  Shame of it was that Sett was seen briefly at Hunters later that day getting carry-out lemonade.  Talking about Hunters, one or two of our older members have been dropping in recently and Maurice Iles has been seen with either a recorder or a shillelagh stuffed into his hip pocket.  Could it be that he is joining the M.C.G. Penny Whistle and Squeezebox Band?  The same weekend saw Chris (Evening) Hall returning to wonder who everyone was, and Sid Hobbs rabbitting on about what we need are very extreme right wingers to resolve a certain industrial dispute. Another rare sight for Saturday night was a brief visit from Alan Thomas but it seemed O.K. for he was chaperoned by Bob Cork.

The recent news of devaluation in Spain has sent a surge of blood running in the veins of a few of our more affluent members.  Of course, Butch is going on an expedition with a neighbouring club, so really he can't be accused of profiteering, especially after his magnificent walk (sponsored) over half of Somerset to aid the trip.  Martin and Liz are off to Costa Fortune where he is going to do some diving.  What a year it will be for postcards!

Finally, I must mention our Hon. Sec. - Mike W who is reported to be going to an Open University Summer School with Maureen (that‘ll cramp her style!)  The subject is drama.  Think what an asset his dramatic fits will be to future committee meetings! - enliven them no end!

Having a page of this B.B. to produce in time to get the whole thing in print, it struck me that it has been some time since anyone broke into verse in the B. B. Reading in 'Fifth Column' that our Hon. Sec. has spent a week at Open University Summer School studying drama, one can perhaps imagine what we may well be in for at the A.G.M. when the report of the Hon. Secretary comes around.

According to the custom of the years
I now must make report upon our club.
Friends! Romans!, Countrymen!, lend me your ears!
To sleep - perchance to dream - aye, there's the rub.
If music be the food of love, play on.
The quality of mercy is not strained
It falleth as the gentle….. wait! tis gone!
That lately in my mem'ry was contained.
I have it - …as the gentle dew from heaven

But what comes now? I swear I lately knew.
(These one week courses should last six or seven)
What comes - no, 'cometh' after 'gentle dew'?
Upon the earth beneath.  It is twice bless'd.
(I wonder why? I'm beggared if I care
I reckon that I'll have to scrub the rest)
So thus I end.  What say you from the chair?
You ask me why no news of club I bring?
Like ruddy Shakespeare says - the play's the thing

(With suitable apologies to Mike Wheadon, Will Shakespeare and all readers)


 

Monthly Crossword Number 76

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Across (Passages)

1. (and 22).  Milton’s Swildons?  (8,8)
6. Grow dripping, perhaps, from ancient 10 down. (3)
7. (and 6 down). Overpopulated section of St. Cuthbert’s. (6,6)
9. Brother 7 across. (4)
11. Old unit?  Sounds like golden oldie. (3)
13. When the pub has no beer, the outlook is…(Doctor needs hearing aid). (5)
14. Not to be confused with 8 down. (1-4)
15. Popular cave, lacking gravity and clergy, provides singular fare for horse. (3)
17. Prickly bit, caves name.  (4)
19. Drives muddles men underwater. (6)
21.  Eastwater-without-a-river is French! (3)
22. See 1.

Down (Pitches)

2. Hopefully rise this when sumping!  (3)
3. Belfry Bulletin taken to heart by ancient priest. (4)
4. Priddy fair is here!  Look for paddy’s. (5)
5. River crossing on Mendip. (8)
6. See 7 across.
8. Last passage in Read’s Cavern. (3,5)
10. Top gear for cavers. (6)
11. Initially men recovering others….. (3)
12. ……others use them initially to get….. (3)
16. Liquor and curtailed A.G.M. somehow inevitable over the years! (5)
18. Only seen on the Mendip hills after abominable night on the tiles. (4)
20. Start Sidcot taking two directions, understand! (3)

Solution to No. 75

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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

Editorial

Matters Arising

The minutes of the last A.G.M. will be found (as threatened in the last B.B.) in this issue.  Apart from the almost inevitable discussion on the subject of tackle, one imagines that comments might well centre on the various changes - actual and proposed - to the Belfry.

Readers will note that this subject has not escaped the hawk-like eye of the Belfry Birds who write 'Fifth Column' and who imply that, whereas our committee (quite properly) has obtained various quotations for the installation of central heating and found the prices to be too high, the Shepton are about to install central heating in their hut.  Much the same sort of argument could be brought to bear about other schemes involving improvements to the Belfry.

At the risk of sticking out the editorial neck, it would appear that what we lack is the amount of effort which some other clubs seem to be able to coax out of their members.  In these days of high labour rates, being able to do ones own work and merely having to buy the materials makes all the difference between a project being 'on' or 'off'.  It is not intended to offer any comment on why the B.E.C. find it difficult to persuade members to lend a hand, but it is, we suggest, a fact which (sadly perhaps) we will have take into account in future plans.

Dinner '77

As many members are only too aware, the last dinner left much to be desired on a number of fronts. We are now booked up once again with the 'cliff' and we would like to make a plea to members to 'give it another try'.  In years past, we have had good dinners there, and we hope we have thrashed out most of the points about service, wine, beer and other things dear to the heart of the typical B.E.C. dinner goer.  We asked you what you wanted, and have done our best to comply.  We hope you will support your dinner!


 

The Growth Of The B.E.C.

PART TWO – EXPANSION – 1943 to 1951

Since the club records started in September 1943, the first few years covered the latter half of the war and the immediate post-war period.  Neither of these were typical times and so it would not be surprising if the figures reflected this fact.  The published figures of total club members over this period assumed that every member who was serving in the forces was still in the club, and this scheme only ceased in 1948.  However, the analysis of the records is capable of some pretty fine interpretation, and this can be allowed for.

The members who attended the meeting in September 1943 were below the average for a year's new membership as one might well expect in the middle of the war.  In contrast, their staying power was better than average which, again, one might expect from those people who effectively started the club going again.  Much the same remained true of the 1944 and the 1945 batches.

Thus, by the end of the war, the total number of club members was way below the predicted value, but their better than average staying power meant that losses from these groups would be low in future years, and would thus help to keep numbers up. Members who are still seen from time to time from these batches include Dan Hasell (Number 4) and Bob Bagshaw (Number 20).

In 1946, with the war now over, new members started to arrive in large numbers. Some were friends of B.E.C. members who had been in the forces with them and who were now demobbed. Others had been students during the war. 'Sett' (Number 78) is an example of the latter group.  Although the staying power of the 1946 batch was only average, its large number of new members, plus the low loss batches, pushed the total up almost to the predicted level.

In contrast, 1947 was a disappointing year.  A very average batch both in number and in staying power. A typical disappointing and average example is Alfie (Number 89).  However, the effect of the large 1946 batch served to keep the slope about right in spite of this slight setback.  From 1948 to 1950, the second - and even greater - expansion occurred.  Very large numbers of new members joined in each of these years.  Unfortunately, their staying power was very poor indeed.  The 1948 batch declined so quickly that although it started off with no less than 36 members, within ten years not a single member remained - and to this day we have no members who joined in 1948.

Such rapid was the decline of the 1948 batch that even the reasonable size of the batches for 1950 and 1951 only produced a small increase in the total membership which was by now running at about the rate of increase one would expect from the theory.  Even so, we still se a few members whose membership dates from this time such as Pat Ifold (number 150); Jill Tuck (number 157); Norman Petty (number 160) and Roy Bennett (number 214).  Derek Targett's father - Fred Targett - was also a member at about this time.

Thus, in 1951, club membership stood at 131 against a predicted total of 119.  The rapid expansion of the club had slowed up, but even so, it was still increasing at a rate which agreed with the predicted rate and which now made it the second largest caving on Mendip.  If future years results were in line with those predicted, then the club could look forward to breaking through the 150 members barrier by 1955 - but as you might guess, nothing so simple is going to happen in the next instalment of these jottings.


 

ISC ‘77

The 7th International Speleological Conference is to take place at the University of Sheffield between Sept 10th and Sept 17th 1977.  During the week before and the week after the main Conference, various excursions and Caving Camps are being arranged.

The excursions are of a specialist nature and include Hydrology, Archaeology etc.  For the more sporting caver, the Congress Central Committee have arranged Caving Camps in the various caving areas of Yorkshire, S Wales and Mendip.  About 1,000 foreign visitors are expected to attend.

To facilitate these camps, local committees have been set up to ensure that lines of communication are available and carry out detailed planning.  The local committee comprises Prof E.K. Tratman, Tim Atkinson, Tim Reynolds, Chris Hawkes, Pete Smart and our own Dave Irwin - each individual has a responsibility to arrange specific functions.

As far as Mendip is concerned, the Camp will centre at the Belfry.  The club has agreed to allocate 17 bunk spaces.  It is expected that be an entourage of 'unofficial' guests and the Wessex and Shepton have agreed to provision for overflow.

The plan of events is based on enabling the cavers to visit all the major caving areas on Mendip and follows the following outline schedule:

Day 1    Central Mendip - Swildons or St Cuthbert’s as the visitor wants

Day 2    Charterhouse - GB, Manor Farm or August/Longwood

Day 3    Eastern Mendip - Stoke, Fairy Quarry or Thrupe Lane

Day 4    Miscellaneous Caves or to Bath area and Stone Mines

If you can assist with any of the following, you should contact Wig ASAP:

1.                  Could you lead a trip should leader be required.

2.                  Could you assist in arranging evening activities including an informal dinner/ skittles cum beer-up/slide show etc.

3.                  Do anything else to provide a 'typical' Mendip type evening (or even day).

PS Dave Irwin's telephone number is Priddy 369.

Notice

If any members know of a cheap supply of A4 size paper suitable for the B.B. (about 70g/m2 bond) we shall be very pleased to hear from them.  At present we are having to pay anything up to £2 per ream, and the B.B. uses (or should do if it again comes out regularly) about 35 reams per year.


 

Minutes Of The 1976 A.G.M.

The annual account of the A.G.M. is being published somewhat earlier than usual this year.  This will give club members plenty of time to read it and ask awkward questions about it at the next A.G.M.!

The meeting started at 10.45 a.m. with 44 members present.  The Hon. Secretary called the meeting to order and asked for nominations for a chairman.  "Ginger" Thomas proposed "Sett".  There were no other nominations, and he was accordingly elected as Chairman.  The Chairman then asked for members resolutions.  The next item was the minutes of the last meeting.  Owing to the poor standard of printing in the B.B., Alfie volunteered to read them from the plates, if required.  Nigel Taylor proposed that they be taken as read. This was then seconded by Bob Cross and carried by the meeting.  The Chairman then asked for matters arising from the minutes.  There were none.

The Hon. Secretary then read his report, which consisted of a general review of club activities during the year.  The Chairman asked for the actual membership figure.  Angie Dooley said that 120 members were paid up.  There were also 51 life members and there had been 27 new members this year.  Some other members still owed their subs, but were expected to pay them.  Nigel Taylor proposed than the report be accepted. This was seconded by Paul Christie and carried.

The Hon. Treasurer's report then followed.  This had been published and the Chairman asked Barrie if he wished to add anything to his written report.  Barrie said that tackle fees were very low at 45p for the year. Mike Palmer said that much of the money paid as tackle fees went into the conscience box as donations. Barrie said that his point was, whether leaders really collected these fees.  A short discussion followed and it was agreed that leaders should make an effort to collect tackle fees.  Barrie then made the point that the refreshments for last years A.G.M. made a loss. He suggested that 40p a head should cover them this year.  Nigel Taylor asked if Barrie could account for the loss shown on the telephone account. Barrie explained that we paid the rental and that two thirds of the sum was repaid by M.R.O.  However, this year, we donated the sum involved to M.R.O. which explained the loss.  The Chairman asked whether the general financial situation was satisfactory. Barrie replied that it was very satisfactory.  The Chairman then asked whether Belfry charges were set at an optimum level. Barrie replied that of the £1,094 from the Belfry, about £400 came from the navy.  Without them, we would only just pay our way.  Nigel Taylor asked what would happen if the navy ceased using the Belfry.  Barrie replied that we would still be in business.  There was some discussion on the part played by guests in the financing of the Belfry.  Martin Bishop asked whether the ratio of members to guests was known, and suggested that this should appear in the B.B. because club members would then realise that most people staying at the Belfry were guests rather than members of the club. Joan Bennett said that a reasonably high proportion of guests was reasonable.  Apart from the club offering hospitality to other cavers, making useful contacts as a result and occasionally recruiting new members, guests were necessary because without them members would find themselves paying a very much higher Belfry fee.  She said that no change of attitude was needed.  Nigel Taylor then asked if Barrie thought the electricity bill was too high.  Barrie explained that previous bills had been based on estimates which had turned out to be too low.  We were now having to pay the backlog.  Dave Irwin pointed out that the Survey Scheme must be isolated financially because this was part of the agreement by which the scheme operated.  Barrie said that he would look into this matter.  The Chairman, then read out the Auditor's Report and Dave Irwin proposed the adoption of both reports.  This was seconded by 'Ginger' Thomas and carried.

The Caving Secretary then read his report. Mike Palmer reminded the meeting that foreign cavers attending the International Speleological Conference next year would need leaders to take them down caves on an organised basis.  Tim replied that a Planning Committee already existed and 'Wig' pointed out that he was the main organiser for Mendip.  He assured Mike Palmer that there would be plenty of warning given to clubs who were required to help.  Mike Palmer then proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Paul Christie and carried.

The report of the Climbing Secretary followed.  There was, apparently, nothing to report, except that Russ Jenkins was actively climbing nowadays.  Mike Palmer suggested that it was, perhaps, time that the A.G.M. reviewed the position of the climbing activity of the club.  Alfie suggested that the meeting might care to appoint the new committee or some other body to look into matters and report to the next A.G.M.  Dave Irwin suggested that the word 'climbing' was too specific and that some more flexible title be given to the section which would enable more people to feel that they were involved.  Colin Dooley suggested that we got on with it and didn't bother. The meeting appeared to agree with him, for it went straight on to the next club officer's report without adopting (or failing to adopt) the Climbing Report.

The Hut Warden's Report was then read by the Chairman.  John Dukes asked whether it was a good idea to remove all the crockery and cutlery.  The suggestion in the report, as the Chairman reminded him, was to retain six sets of equipment for people who were 'caught out' with no means of eating, to use on payment of a deposit and to return in a clean condition.  Bob Cross announced that he was against this scheme.  “T’was ever thus” was the general theme of his argument.  Nigel Taylor doubted whether this was a matter for the A.G.M. to discuss at all but suggested that, in any case, a trial period could be instituted.  Martin Bishop made the point that the Belfry is always dirty and that anything which would improve matters should be tried. 'Ginger' Thomas thought that the word to describe the Belfry should be 'filthy' rather than 'dirty'.  Mike Wheadon suggested that the lack of a set of Belfry Rules was a contributory cause of the trouble and suggested that re-issuing the rules - or a modern form of them might help.  Martin Bishop gave it as his opinion that an inspection by a Health Inspector at any time over recent weeks would have resulted in the Belfry being closed on health grounds.  No decision was actually reached by the meeting however, and the report was adopted after this had been moved by Nigel Taylor and seconded by Martin Bishop.

The Tacklemaster then read his report.  Mike Palmer asked whether Graham was proposing to standardise on Englefield Clips. Graham replied that he was not proposing to do this.  Mike Palmer pointed out that non-standardisation posed various problems, but that he was not trying to argue the case for Englefield clips.  Graham said that he agreed with Mike, but that he had no way of making 'C' links and had thus been forced to use Englefield Clips as the old 'C' links gradually became unusable.  A general discussion followed, which ended when Dave Turner volunteered to provide and fit 'C' links if necessary.  It was then proposed by Dave Turner and seconded by Colin Dooley that the club standardise on 'C' links of the old type, or with links which are compatible with them.  A vote was called for by the Chairman, and the result was declared as carried with 29 for and 3 against.   Graham said that at present only tethers were fitted with Englefield clips and said that he would now be making more tethers with 'C' links now that Dave Turner had volunteered to make a supply available.  Mike Palmer said that tethers with Englefield Clips should be taken out of circulation straight away.  Graham then agreed that this would be done.  The adoption of the report was then proposed by Tim Large and seconded by Nigel Taylor, and carried without dissent.

The Belfry Engineer's Report followed.  There was no official report, but he said that there had not been a lot done in the year just ended.  Quite a lot needed doing but very little was actually getting done.  For example, the Tackle Store needed sorting out.  A workshop would be very useful.  The tragic thing in his opinion was that the money was there waiting to be spent, but no members were willing to help.  The Chairman said that if this were true, then the B.E.C. ought to be ashamed of itself.  'Ginger' Thomas offered to work on the Belfry whenever he was down on Mendip. A suggestion was made that the club might employ somebody on a contractual basis.  Various people said that this was an insult to the club.  Bob Cross asked whether some of the money could be spent on proper mattresses.  Paul Christie said that there was a lack of motivation amongst club members and Mike Wheadon pointed out that a Belfry Engineer must be prepared to lead as well as to work.  A heated discussion followed and in the course of this, 'Ginger' Thomas said that he was prepared to donate two storage heaters.  Dave Irwin then suggested that some form of central heating might be a good way to spend the club's money in a way that would prove of long term benefit to the Belfry.  Dave Turner then proposed that ' The Committee investigate the cost and feasibility of installing central heating, and be authorised to spend the money.' The Chairman and ' Ginger Thomas both pointed out to the meeting that heating without adequate ventilation would only produce a warm, damp Belfry instead of a cold, damp Belfry.  The Chairman suggested an amendment of replacing the words 'central heating' with 'central heating and ventilation.'  This was agreed to by the proposer and the amended resolution was seconded by Colin Dooley.  Voting was 36 in favour and none against.

The Chairman then announced a break for refreshments at 12.30.

At 2.30, the meeting was re-convened, and the Chairman announced that at one time during the morning session, there had been 52 members present.  The Belfry Bulletin report then followed, which Alfie read. The Chairman said that it was obvious from the report that greater participation from club members was needed. Angie Dooley said that perhaps we ought to look into having the B.B. printed commercially.  Colin Dooley said that Alfie had suggested a team, and this is what the club should be debating.  He said that there must be more involvement and said that we had had no committee election for two years, and this pointed to the fact that members were not getting involved in running the club.  Mike Palmer said that he agreed with Angie and that we should look seriously at the idea of having the B.B. printed professionally.  Barrie said that he agreed with Colin.  We should try Alfie's plan, or at last discuss it. Dave Turner said that the Ballooning Club’s magazine is printed by Electroprint and costs £400 an issue.  A B.B. printed at similar cost would work out at about £4 per member per anum.  Dave Irwin said that the Wessex Journal costs £275 a year for six issues, and this is about £1 per member per annum.  Colin Dooley said that if we only spent £1 per member per annum AND installed the central heating AND paid the new insurance premium AND were faced with the loss of the revenue from the navy, then we should go broke.  Dave Turner suggested that talk was of very little use, action is what we needed.  Dave Irwin said that if a team could be got going, then it should be tried. At this stage, the Chairman asked if there were any volunteers.  Andy Sparrow volunteered to collect material, Alfie and Mike Wheadon volunteered to do the typing.  Barrie volunteered to provide stationary covers and Alan Kennett and Tony Corrigan volunteered to print.  The Chairman said that under these circumstances, the idea of a team as suggested in the B.B. Report should be tried with the corollary that Alfie ran the team.  Bob Cross then proposed the adoption of the report and the Chairman’s suggested solution. This was seconded by Andy Sparrow and carried without dissent.

The special item of INSURANCE was taken next. Joan and Roy Bennett produced suitable tables showing the various options and their cost and type of cover and Dave Irwin outlined the background to the change of attitude by the insurance companies.  At the end of the presentation, Dave Turner proposed that the club should take up the 44p + 25% + 10% policy and that all members should be strongly urged to take out their own Public Liability insurance in addition to the club's policy.  This was seconded by Paul Stokes and carried with 35 in favour and 4 against.  Joan Bennett announced that she had made arrangements for further information on insurance to cover climbing, hill walking etc. to be sent to the committee.

The Publications Report followed.  In the absence of a formal report, the subject was referred to the next committee by the Chairman.

The Hon. Librarian's Report made the point that the main source of concern was the damp state of the library.  Apart from this, all was well.  It was hoped that the work to be carried out on central heating would remove the damp in the library.  Barrie proposed that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Mike Palmer and carried without dissent.

The Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee report followed.  There was no discussion and the adoption of the report was proposed by Nigel Taylor and seconded by Mike Wheadon and carried without dissent by the meeting.

A members resolution concerning new arrangements for the payment of annual subscriptions was defeated by 8 in favour to 25 against.  There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 3.50 p.m.

Dinner- 1977

The Club Dinner is fixed to be at the Cliff Hotel Cheddar this year.  As usual it will be the first Saturday of October (1st).  The Menu is under negotiation but at present is: Choice of Starter: Soup/Prawn Cocktail/Fruit Juice; Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce/Roast & Boiled Potatoes/Sprouts/Carrots etc; Sweet will be from Fruit Salad & Cream/Apple Pie & Cream/Ice cream; Cheese & Biscuits and Coffee - the price will be £4.50.  More details will be given later; the main reason for advance notice is that BOOKING SHOULD BE DONE BY 12th OF SEPTEMBER and PAUL CHRISTIE would like to know at this time if you wish to travel from the BELFRY BY COACH. The Cliff could provide a vegetarian meal if necessary but there would have to be advance warning of this need. Another defect (to some) will be that provision of one's own vintage will not be allowed this year - the Cliff are troubled that it might make someone 'ill' and their cuisine would carry the blame.


 

Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

With the problems of the B.B. machine dogging us; it's nice to be back and flattering to learn that our column was missed when we took a rest at the ed's request.  A group of our fans were heard to ask "Where is the Fifth Column?" and both said it was the first thing they read in the B.B. each month.  It is food for thought that although we think we have got journal troubles, it was rumoured recently that the club might be asked by a very well known club to print their magazine, as they too have problems which might indeed prove to be greater than ours.  Not least of the B.B.'s worries would have been a planned coup, which was luckily averted.

Celebrations and festivities abound, from the modest to the excessive, although none organised by the B.E.C. committee who, on receiving a request for a jubilee celebration, lapsed into unaccustomed silence.  First there was  Jon Jon's birthday in the village hall, attended by the usual select gathering.  Then there was the amazingly exclusive Shepton Dinner at the Hunters Lodge.  They claim the food was excellent and in excess (sounds familiar!)  More personal celebrations came with the announcement from the Franklin clan of their latest arrival - Benjamin Somerset.  Congratulations.  Pat and Beryl Ifold - sadly, no longer members, celebrated their Silver Wedding with (we hear) a splendid party.  (Quite correct – Ed!)  The Palmers housewarming is coming up and the Bishops held a jubilee do which turned into one of 'those' parties.  Angie is reported to have been more adventurous than can be repeated here without the use of asterisks.  Brenda, found sitting on the step, was asked what she was doing.   Her reply was "Waiting to be sick".  Such parties are only to be wondered at!

Our recent report that 'they 'orrible words' are again to be heard at Hunters has been confounded. The whistle-and-accordion folk persons have taken over, and continue their interminable and mournful songs in strange keys, which drives your correspondent to drink, or at least to the other bar.  Why do they never seem to enjoy their music?  Caving songs are occasionally to be heard at the Shepton Hut after hours, and it is shortly to be central-heated.

Mysterious plans to remove and re-located the Belfry kitchen have not borne to fruition despite much patter at committee meetings.  In any case, should we contemplate new schemes when so many half-complete schemes already exist?  Sett has been doing some talks recently on the archaeology of Mendip and was understandably disappointed at the response.  Perhaps the non-appearance of the B. B. can be the cause?

Tynings Barrow made the national news as the 'major new cave of Mendip'.  Congrats to the Institute; (T.I.T.S.) who held a celebration dinner at Hunters.  Soon there will be enough record holders on Mendip to hold a dinner on their own, as Richard et al. have made an attack on Wookey Hole and were (as they modestly report) successful.  Perhaps we'll read all about it in the B.B.  The local press reviewed Wig and Tony's new book and gave it a good write up. Strange that when the local television station did the same thing where only Wig got a mention - he must be in with someone at the B.B.C.

At the Belfry, the men’s room has a new bunk thanks to Martin and Garth - made they said out of supermarket trolley wire!  Jarrett fell out of same and has had to have his hip pinned.  Colleen Gage assured us that all proper precautions were taken to protect his vital parts during X-rays.  Mike Holland and George Pointing (and Dave Berry) have recently been seen on the hill.  Maureen has had her second eye operation.  There are bound to be some who will be disappointed that she might be able to see them instead of using Braille to locate them!  Finally, there are rumours that Alfie is going to talk about caving to boy scouts (can he still remember it?) and that the Hon. Treasurer actually went underground recently.


 

Monthly Crossword Number 75

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Across (Passages)

1. I’d be a northerner for this Mendip cave. (6)
4. Drinks from Wales. (4)
8. Quiet nobleman found occasionally in caves. (5)
9. This ground is where caves are found. (5)
10. Not on!. (3)
11. Prolific writer. (4)
13. Pitch in bare terrain underground. (5)
16. (with 5 down and 17 down)  Picture helped P.G. in Cuthbert’s. (5,5,5)
19. 5 down has it if one ignores the learner. (4)
21. Posses nothing and two points of the compass. (3)
23. Arise! (3,2)
24. Tried otherwise after a caving trip? (5)
25. Reflections of a sort often noticed in caves. (4)
26. Old Mendip Cave dweller. (6)

Down (Pitches)

1. Division of Highland clan gives short version of Cuthbert’s series. (4)
2. Start of well known Goatchurch crawl. (5)
3. Rope material in long or short lengths. (5)
5. See 16 across.
6. 1 down is a this. (6)
7. Soft type of stal. (4)
12. The Double Pots are in Swildons this. (3)
14. 198” for this and its Mendip Pot. (3)
15. Noise made by stream perhaps. (6)
17. See 16 across.
18. Useful aid in European caves. (4)
19. There may be restrictions on this. (5)
20. Overeat in G.B. (5)
21. Hunters criterion without learner. (4)

Solution to No. 74

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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

Editorial

Congratulations

The discovery of a new major cave on Mendip is always an occasion for some rejoicing, and congratulations are due to Pete McNab (Snab) and his merry men of the Tynings Institute for Troglodytic Studies on their successful entry and exploration of Tynings Barrow Swallet.

Another aspect of their work which deserves praise is the way that they stabilised and maintained good relations with the farmer.  Soon after the hole first appeared, after the great storm of 1968, some thoughtless cavers got to the swallet by breaking through the nearest hedge.  The farmer; who keeps sheep in the field, was justifiably annoyed, and filled in the hole.  Last year, Snab not only managed to restore good relations, but even kept them that way after an incident where some visiting cavers  once again took the quick - but stupid - way in.

The Printing Story

In desperation, we gave last months B.B. to a professional firm to print for us, with the result which is now apparent.  It would appear that these firms are just not used to dealing with paper plates, and have no idea how to handle them.  However, we have at last got an expert to look at the printing machine and we hope that our difficulties are now solved.  What happens to this B.B. will prove the point one way or the other!

The Do-it-Yourself B.B.?

At the time of writing, it is assumed that the article by Graham Wilton-Jones giving a description of Tynings Barrow Swallet, has been included in the February B.B.  Graham volunteered to type the article on duplicator stencils and get it duplicated and supply the paper and get it included in the (already printed - after a fashion by a professional printer!) February issue of the B.B.

There seems no real reason why this cannot be done again if the need or opportunity arises.  If some member has a particular piece of 'stop press' news, and the means and opportunity, the present format of the B.B. permits such a late inclusion.  It does, however, make us wonder whether we ought to go back to numbering each B.B. separately, instead of numbering pages right through each volume as we do now. Has anybody any thoughts on this one?

Central Heating

As members will know, the committee was actioned by the last A.G.M. to go ahead and install central heating in the Belfry should this prove to be feasible.  It would seem, however, that things (as usual!) are proving more complex in practice than the A.G.M. imagined.

For example, most of the quotes so far received mean that the actual cost would be such as to spend ALL the club's available money.  This is clearly possible, but is it feasible?  The condition of the Belfry is giving the committee much cause for concern - if not alarm.  An urgent job must be done on the sleeping accommodation, and this has already got the 'go ahead' from the committee.  There are also plans for improving the showers and a longer term one for re-siting the kitchen.  Plans for both these schemes are being prepared for inclusion in the B.B. to give members a chance to air their opinions.  Certainly, the more urgent renovations to the Belfry must be carried out. On the other hand, lack of adequate heating is a contributory factor to the deterioration of the Belfry.  One answer would be an improvement to the heating but short of the idea of full central heating.  On the other hand, the A.G.M. obviously had full central heating in mind.

It’s not such good asking for less talk and more action.  What would you do under these circumstances?

N.C.A. Again

The meeting to discuss the reaction of the Southern Council to the proposed changes to the structure of N.C.A. is due to be held on Saturday 26th of March.  It is hoped to include some comment on what seems to be the present situation in next month's B.B.

Climbing

Just to remind you that there is a discount available to B.E.C. current members at Ellis Brigham’s in Whiteladies Rd, Bristol.  There is a rumour that Kevin is saving up to get married and wishes to sell some of his climbing gear, said to be worth four figures!   See him at the shop - he's the tall blond one.  Seems they've got all that new shop at Welsh Back has without the razzmatazz.

When the better weather is with us there will be a rock climbing meet at Wintour's Leap near Chepstow. Good steep, safe limestone with a good view of the river!

Russell Jenkins
Climbing Sec.

Russell has also sent a short climbing article in, which will appear in the next B.B.  Tales of the climbing exploits of members are always acceptable, so if any climbers are reading this – how about it?


 

Exploring Swildons Hole.

The author of this article, Francis Webb, died during August 1975, was an associate of Kangy’s and suggested to him that the club might be interested in reading of Swildons before modern techniques reduced it to the relatively simple trip of nowadays.

A trip made on 6 May 1938 – by Francis Webb. The Silver Jubilee of King George V.

When I was an undergraduate I made the acquaintance of a student named B---.  We used to doze opposite each other in the University Library and to a casual observer we must have looked equally devitalized.  I suppose that's why we first grew friendly - we recognised in our respective attitudes the same sort of half-contemptuous, half-guilty protest against the exertions of our neighbours around the table in the quiet bay where we sat.  There were earnest young women, bespectacled and prim, who read and wrote simultaneously with a savage concentration terrifying to behold.  The proximity of so much virtue intruding on our repose would cause us to exchange an occasional troubled glance.  Then B--- would settle himself back in his chair, and relapse into sightless contemplation of the book propped open before him, never moving his eyes or turning a page.

Still, this isn’t an entirely fair and complete picture of my friend.  B--- once removed from the debilitating academic atmosphere of the Library, could be active enough – and one and one of his chief interests lay in the 'pot - holing'.  He was the Secretary of a Society which existed to open up and explore the numerous caves in the neighbouring range of limestone hills.

One morning I encountered B--- in the University Club.  He greeted me with a little more animation than usual. "Care to come caving this weekend he enquired we're thinking of tackling - - - Hole, and we need a party of nine.  Got to have some dull looking clots to carry the gear, so I thought of you".  Now here I was woefully misled at the recollection of a previous excursion with B---.  It had been very pleasant, the party had been mixed; we had travelled in a luxury coach; there had been floodlights and underground lakes, wonderful caverns, impressive stalactites and a first-rate tea.  Nothing very strenuous and the whole thing had been undeniably interesting.  So, ignoring the somewhat equivocal implications in the phrasing of the present invitation, I accepted at once.

When I arrived next day at the hut, situated in a lonely part of the hills, which formed the headquarters of the Society, I was puzzled at first by the curious lethargy which seemed to be gripping everyone.  For the most part, fellows, about a dozen of them, were lying on their backs in the sunshine doing nothing, as only undergraduates can.  After a bit I began to wonder when we should make a start. The summer afternoon was slipping away and it would soon be teatime.  I voiced my curiosity to B--- but he was unconcerned.  "It's all right, no hurry, this is an all night show, lie down and rest".  I lay down and, as I digested this cryptic information, I began to slowly realise that this expedition, and my previous experience of caving, were just likely to be very different.

At length, Primus stoves were lighted and Bacon and Eggs began to sizzle in the pans.  Meanwhile, from a little shed, which formed an annexe to the main hut, coils of line and a bulky maze of rope ladders began to appear. These were followed by sledge hammers and crowbars.  My suspicions were rapidly confirmed.  Evidently, 'carrying the gear' was going to form no inconsiderable contribution to the exercise.

We set off about 6-30 pm dressed in filthy old boiler suits and stout hobnailed boots.  Together with two other neophytes I had been allotted the humble role of bearer to the leader of the party.  We four were to go ahead with most of the tackle to a place obscurely designated as 'the top of the forty' whilst the seasoned campaigners followed on unencumbered and at their leisure.

We crammed ourselves into a car already loaded with rucksacks and ropes and bumped for several miles over a rough track to an isolated farmhouse.  Here our leader obtained a key from the farmer and. then led us across a field to the bank of an innocent looking stream.  But there was one feature peculiar to it.  After a few hundred yards it suddenly disappeared through a padlocked iron grill into the ground - and it didn't seem to reappear anywhere either.

Our leader raised the grill and disappeared into the hole.  It was the most unimpressive entrance that could be imagined. Squeezing myself through the narrow opening I could help feeling a sneaking sense of shame in sinking out of sight down an (extra) ordinary looking drain.

Inside, the passage was narrow, low and very dark and wet.  We lighted stubs of candle and dragging our cumbersome burdens, groped forward, following the bed of the stream, wading waist deep in water.

Very soon I became familiar with two common experiences common to caving.  One was the extricating sensation of hot candle wax spilling onto the back of your hand when you clutching for your life some knob or cranny in a slippery passage, and dare not move a muscle to avoid it.  The other concerned the unbelievable perversity of loosely bundled rope ladder.  Of all the damnable contrivances to attempt to convey through narrow, twisting passages, nothing could exceed the malignancy of this horrible contraption. Lying flat on my back, with the tunnel roof an inch or so above the face, it was necessary to pass the ladder bit by bit along and over my body, into the grasp of the man ahead.  I had just pushed the leading end beyond my head when I found my arms and hands locked immovably.  Meanwhile the ladder travelled slowly over my upturned face, each rung hooking me in turn underneath the nose, until it was jerked free by an extra sharp wrench which banged the back of my head against the floor, clunk-clunk-clunk for forty interminable feet.

Of course, we were not always in such cramped situations.  Sometimes we passed through large and echoing caverns, the sombre, moisture stained walls reaching endlessly up into the darkness.  Still dragging our loads we climbed along slippery ridges and slopes following the course of the water through a maze of crevices and fissures.  Occasionally we climbed down a vertical rock face with only the faint gleam of our leaders candle at the bottom to guide us through the darkness.  Each time we came to a particularly awkward place, I began to hate my rucksack and the rope ladder with increasing force.  Sometimes I seemed jammed beyond all hope of release, then being hung like a worm on a fish hook.  I would succeed at last in extricating myself and to hurry after the flicker of my companion’s candle light, before fading into the distance

I had just become used to going this way when trouble occurred.  I overhauled the other three who were holding a council.  One of my fellow bearers, slipping on a sharp rock, had jammed his leg on a crevice and his knee was badly damaged and perhaps broken. Luckily, our leader was a doctor he decided that we would go on with the kit to the appointed rendezvous and then return to get the injured man to the surface.  So leaving the injured securely anchored to the rock with an array of candles for company, we continued along a low and narrow tunnel with the water still swirling waist high around us.  As we progressed, labouring under our burdens, suddenly the roof sloped to the surface of the water, barring our way.  Above the bubbling gurgle of the water which disappeared though its outlet I seemed to feel rather than hearing a dull reverberating roar.  Here I was instructed to make myself comfortable whist the others returned to the scene of the accident and the injured man.

For the first hour, the novelty of my situation was sufficient to outweigh the disagreeable aspects but after a while, sitting in the rushing water, I began to feel cold.

By bracing my back against one wall of the passage, and my feet against the other, I managed to raise myself partly out of the stream but even so I wasn't very comfortable.  Then I began to think of the weight of rock above my head.  Somewhere, perhaps miles above my head was sunshine and open air but all I could see was the dripping black roof of the tunnel, toothed with stalactites like the mouth of some dreadful prehistoric monster I reflected that I could not possibly find my way back alone through the labyrinth of passages and caverns through which we had traversed.  My thoughts were rather depressing and I hoped that my friends would not forget to come and collect me.  I decided to stop thinking so and amused myself by singing all the most flippant songs I knew.  Pretty soon, that got to be boring also but I found that a new interest became most absorbing - this was in watching my candle stub grow rapidly shorter and I watched with dreadful fascination it’s dwindling - I was going to miss that friendly flicker when it eventually went out.  At length it gave its last glimmer and I was alone in the darkness.  Not quite alone, it seemed however, for I began to be aware of a curious almost imperceptible flutter in the air around me, something that suggested the darting flight of a bird, but softer, more ethereal.  I’m glad that I didn’t know then that some caves are often inhabited by myriads of bats, I wasn't really sure at the time whether anything was there or not; it just felt like something flitting past my head now and again.  I thought that it was time that I pulled myself together or I might begin seeing things too and after all there wasn't anything to really worry about.  Old B--- and the rest would be along any time now and they would laugh like hell to see me clawing the wall and gibbering.  But in spite of my best efforts I must have looked pretty wan when at last a distant gleam heralded the arrival of my friends.

B--- saw no reason for the obvious pleasure with which I greeted him.  He enquired briefly whether we had rigged the ladder for the descent of the 40 foot and it was borne in on me that the night was yet young and there was plenty more caving in store for me before we finished.

We duck through here said B-- indicating the hole through which the stream disappeared.  "Take a deep breath and don't get stuck.  Give me time to get my light going again when I'm through then feed the ladder through to me.  When that's through you can follow".  I swallowed down most of my insides and took a very deep breath indeed. I suppose that the part of the tunnel completely sealed by water could not have been more than a few feet long but to me it seemed as long as eternity.  I was determined to obey to the letter B’s injunction about not getting stuck.  No eel could have surpassed my performance in getting through that hole and as I emerged on the other side I remembered thinking ‘My God, to get home I’ve got to get back through there!  I found myself clinging to B--- and perched on a sloping ledge over which a tidy sized river was disappearing into bottomless space – the cause of that curious reverberation which I had previously noted was now apparent.  The noise was deafening.  Our candle threw sparkles of iridescence on the mist of spray rising from the gulf.

B--- and the old hands got busy with the rope ladder.  I realised that it was proposed to descend the fall.  When my turn came I wasn't clear headed enough to wait for full instructions though I understood vaguely that there was a twelve foot deep whirlpool below the fall and that the technique was to swing on the end rung of the ladder like a pendulum, letting go at the right moment so as to land at the edge rather than in the centre of the pool.  But the full force of the water on my head and its removal of the candle from my grasp, half stunning me and completely blinding my vision so confused my already partly turned wits so that I could only cling like a clam to the ladder, breathing in ragged sobbing gasps that choked me with water swallowed and inhaled.  Somehow I found myself gripping the bottom rung swaying slowly in and out, in and out of the full strength of the torrent as I tried to pluck up the courage to let go and fling myself to the edge of the pool.  I lingered so long on the bottom rung that at last a peaceful end in the depths of the pool began to appear preferable to further delay so I jumped and landed on all fours in a relatively shallow place from whence I was hauled by those who had descended before me.

After that, a mere twenty foot waterfall later on in our course seemed tame.  Even a 90 foot rope descent, the rope running in a sort of inverted parabola over inky chasms and sabre toothed pinnacles of rock failed to dull the vivid impression left on me by the first waterfall.  I could not help thinking that climbing up it again was likely to be just as impressive as the descent and in this I was not mistaken.

When we arrived at the extreme point of penetration into this particular cave, my powers of sensation were pretty well used up.  I can remember eyeing the long bamboo rod which had been used in an attempt by a previous party to blast a way onwards with explosives.  I wondered what it had been like in getting them down here. Portions of a home-made diving apparatus which had been employed in an effort to penetrate further underwater moved in me no more than a heartfelt thankfulness that certain essentials had had to be taken to the surface for repair, leaving the outfit temporarily unsuitable for use.

At last we started back. Once or twice I found myself at the rear of the party with my candle stub accidentally extinguished with no dry matches.  I resolved that I should be extremely active in avoiding this particular nightmare in the future, and hastened to catch up with B---, and so it was that we arrived within the sound of the 40 foot fall far in advance of the rest of the party.

Now B--- was proud of his lamp - it was a small acetylene affair with a naked flame like a lizard's tongue; the sort of thing that miners wear in their caps in which are free from firedamp.  He turned it up until the flame was nearly a foot long.  With this he was convinced that he could climb up through the fall and that it would stay alight despite the torrent beating on it.  He proposed that instead of waiting at the foot of the fall, we should surprise our friends by waiting for them at the top. Personally, any delay would have been acceptable but I was in no state to resist argument and B-- prepared for immediate ascent.

He explained that he would take a rope with him to serve as a communication        cord and lifeline.  When he signalled by jerking the line I was to tie it round myself and follow him up.  Without further delay he disappeared up the ladder.  As soon as I was alone I began to hate the idea of swinging again on the ladder and the whirlpool seemed to be making sucking noises with a sort of anticipatory relish - but at last the ladder ceased swaying - B--- must have arrived at the top.

I grasped the life line secured to the bottom rung and hauled it back to where I was standing. With numb fingers I began to fumble the line into a bowline round my waist muttering the Boy Scout recipe for rabbits coming up out of the hole and round the tree, which is supposed to produce the requisite loop.  But try as I might my bowline just wouldn’t come out right.  In the middle of all this preparation I became aware of a tremendous bellowing from above.  This was accompanied by fierce jerks on the line, which slipped from my un-nerved hands. The noise of the fall effectively drowned the sense of B—‘s shouts but guiltily conscious of my inabilities I interpreted that as shouts of impatience at my delay. So, abandoning any discretion and the struggle with the bowline I stepped onto the bottom rung and launched myself into the torrent.

My candle put out in an instant and at the same moment the icy stream hit my head with a sledge hammer force driving the breath from my lungs and forcing my head down between my shoulders.  My knees bent beneath the pressure from above until my arms were at full stretch, the water tore at the suspended        frame, stinging face, eyes and hands and battering my bruised senses to confusion. In the overwhelming tumult, rational thought was impossible, all the same I became aware of my feet stumbling on the rungs as I began to clamber painfully upwards.

Immediately the loop of the lifeline fell from my waist to my knees and then slipped further to my ankles. For some reason B--- was not taking in the slack as I mounted.  I toiled on, trying at each rung to step out of the loop.  Suddenly, one of my feet missed the rung and I clawed desperately with the free leg, waving it madly above the drop.  The ladder, free from my distributed weight, was pushed askew by the thrust on one leg and no longer hung vertically but made sickening lunges in all directions, threatening at any moment to hurl me off altogether.  All this while, B--- continued his unintelligible roaring from above.  As I swung giddily in the middle of the torrent, what I feared most suddenly occurred. My convulsive struggling caused my other foot to slip from the ladder and I was left dangling by my arms alone. Try as I might I was unable to locate the ladder again with my toes.      It was obvious that I could not last long like this and I decided that the last breath in my body should be devoted to communicating my difficulty to B---.   With the screech of a banshee I informed him of my predicament.  His reply was an immediate hauling on the lifeline which was well and truly tangled around my ankles.  Slowly but relentlessly I found myself being pulled upside down, my hands gripping the sides of the ladder in a frenzy- and my heels disappearing above my head in the grip of that ghastly loop.  Once more I outlined the position of my affairs to B--- in a vocal record which surely must have created a record.  Mercifully, he heard me and stopped pulling.  The sheer relief at being up the right way seemed heavenly, it gave me strength for one last effort and kicking myself free from the loop of line I wrapped myself round the ladder and eventually managed to get one foot on one side of it and the other on the other side.  This is held to be the safest way I now know but here there was a particular snag, the top yard or so of the ladder lay over a projecting bulge of rock, the rungs tight against its face so I was forced to risk again taking one foot off the rungs before I could drag myself to safety on the ledge.

I was greeted by an irate B---.  "You damned fool, why didn't you wait at the bottom?  I shouted to tell you that my lamp had gone out".

Neither of us had any dry matches so we crouched on the ledge in total darkness, listening to the fall of water, our teeth rattling with cold and, in my case, with ill repressed emotion, until the rest of the party came up to join us.

The remainder of the journey was relatively uneventful.  Emerging at last through the very ordinary grill I found the pale stars of a summer dawn above my head but I was not conscious of any sublime or elevated feelings. I was just immensely glad to throw away the remains of my last candle stub.  We had been underground, in icy water off and on, for nearly ten hours. Lying in a heap of straw in the farmer’s barn, warming our numbed bodies with rum, we treated the affair with a nonchalance which I found at first a little unnatural.  But gradually the whole experience began to fall into a more rational focus and when viewed through the tawny mellowness of a tilted rum bottle it began to seem a pretty good show after all.


 

Lead Mining Methods of Mendip and Derbyshire

For a minority of Mendip Folk, mineral mining conjures up visions of great vaults and vast networks of passages having teams and teams of miners hewing their existence out of the living rock.  This is, of course, not an accurate picture and the miners endured, in their efforts to eke out a living, many dangers including those of gas, collapse and inundation.

Of the three, collapse was perhaps the easiest to deal with as almost all of the passages were in solid limestone or toadstone, so it was when the "old man" was driving through shale that he was troubled by collapse problems.  These were mainly overcome by the construction of lined shafts and arched adits or levels.  However, the shale also presented the problem of Gas.

Fire Damp (CH4) only found in mineral mines when shale or the like is exposed and the gas, when able to collect in rock crevices to mix with four to twelve times its volume of air, is potentially lethal.  The effect of its ignition could be to produce a sheet of flame which would seal the upper part of the mine passages and in the wake of the explosion would come the Choke Damp (carbonic ash residue) which being heavier than air would soon overcome and suffocate any survivors of the explosion.  Another gas hazard could arise from the imperfect combustion of the Fire Damp, Carbon Monoxide (White Damp) was equally deadly and even if it did not kill on the spot it had a more or less permanent effect on the inhaler as it was most difficult to expel from the body. Explosions were not confined to being caused by gas though, the occurrence of 'Slickensides' or 'Cracking Holes' or 'Looking Glass' (limestone or sometimes lead ore with a ribbed and polished surface) sometimes caused explosions of incredible violence due to stress and strain forces building up in them.  These occurrences were particularly common in the Eyam district of Derbyshire where there are records of many miners being killed in such explosions.

The main problem countrywide encountered by the Miner was how to drain the workings.  In Derbyshire there was usually a simple solution by driving an adit through to the nearest valley and so empty the water from the workings there.  Sometimes, where two or more mines were working in close proximity a joint effort was made to effect drainage.

Passages below this level were pumped out and several methods used are worthy of note.  The Mendip miners hampered by the absence of deep valleys, hauled out the water in nine gallon leather buckets and the miners would make use of local swallow holes both for drainage purposes and also for spoil dumps.

One of the early pump methods in use was the Archimedes screw which was generally produced by the use of a hollow log containing a wooden corkscrew inside which when turned would raise a small amount of water.  However, if it was inclined at too steep an angle the water would drain out so the more efficient Rag and Chain type pump was used.

The Rag and Chain was used extensively in the early 17th Century and through to the mid 19th Century. It consisted of an endless chain passed through a hollow log which was looped and turned by a spiked wheel of 2 to 3 feet diameter.  At intervals on the chain were mounted leather bags filled with horse hair or rags and these fitted closely inside the log pipe.  When the log was immersed in the water pumping was effected by turning the wheel and trapping water in the pipe and transferring it to the top.  This was the first pump capable of moving large volumes of water and sludge but its operation was exhausting to those driving it. The next generation of pumps were those of the steam age such as the Newcomen 'atmospheric' engine and the Bolton and Watt beam engines.

But that’s another story


 

The Festering Column

by “Plagiarist”

Following on in the tradition of 'Wig' and his 'Round and About' notes, one of our local Mendippers has, after much nagging from the production team, taken up his pen with the intention of giving us a regular series of news and in some cases gossip.

1.                  The recent incredible burst of enthusiasm on Mendip has seen the production of two new guide books as well as some major cave extensions

Barrington and Stanton have almost completed their revised edition 'Caves of Mendip" and publication is anticipated in late spring.

Tony Knibbs and 'Wig' will soon be issuing their new book (during March) which is to be titled "Mendip Underground". The book is not intended to either supplant or to be a competitor to Caves of Mendip but will be a more detailed work carrying detailed descriptions of caves which the authors opinion, 'significant'.  The descriptions are excellent and many consultants have been called in to give information on normally inaccessible cave passage (e.g. Swildons 10 to 12). It is rumoured that the information contained is so complete that it will no longer be necessary to actually visit a cave to be able to discuss it authortively - clearly this will be the best thing to hit caving since N.C.A.

2.                  Tynings Swallet has finally yielded some of its secrets to the determined onslaught mounted against it by the Tynings Institute for Troglodyte Studies (a group of select individuals dedicated to muddy digs and abbreviations).  So far the swallet has revealed 3,000 feet of fine passage of the shredded neoprene variety.  Access at present is not too easy and potential sightseers/explorers should contact Martin Bishop or Snab.

3.                  Fault Chamber (Swildons) has produced a further 250 feet of passage found by the Portsmouth Poly Brigade – these students get everywhere don’t they.  Jubilee Turn (Swildons still) just after sump 4 is proving interesting and chemical hammering should eventually result in a breakthrough.

4.                  Iran ’77 expedition has now 19 fully (?) committed members and up to the present has received over £1,000 in grants and donations.  There are prospects that a farewell barrel and drinking contest before the ‘off’ on August 1st.

5.                  The note for this session - Don't be put off by the recent collapse in the barrows. Entry has not been prevented.


 

Monthly Crossword Number 73

 

1

 

 

2

 

3

 

 

4

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

7

 

8

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

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17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across (Passages)

5. Where the Marquis keeps his money near the U.B.S.S. hut?  (4,7)
6. Staid mine workings. (4)
9. After young sheep shelter right for Mendip caves. (4)
10. C.B. Chamber. (4)
11. Additional in next rawlbolt. (5)
12. There are lots of this in some caves. (4)
13. Broken off formation? (4)
14. Infill, perhaps. (5)
17. Still stal off this cave formation. (7,4)

Down (Pitches)

1. Untrue underfoot in some caves?  (5,6)
2. The hand the editor employed. (4)
3. Found in a cave, a stream – or associated with water on Mendip. (4)
4. Indent a clino – but still obtained what I wanted from it! (11)
6. St. Cuthbert’s block. (5)
7. Bury underground between. (5)
8. Vandal’s verb? (5)
15. G.B. has a gallery for one of them. (4)
16. All this when full of its last three quarters. (4)

Solution to No. 72

 

D

 

S

 

S

 

I

 

B

 

R

U

S

T

 

T

U

N

N

E

L

 

G

 

A

 

E

 

L

 

L

 

H

O

L

L

O

W

F

I

E

L

D

 

U

 

A

 

S

 

M

 

 

 

S

T

U

C

K

 

H

E

R

B

Y

 

 

 

T

 

T

 

S

 

A

 

S

E

D

I

M

E

N

T

A

R

Y

 

A

 

T

 

N

 

O

 

R

 

A

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C

E

N

T

 

N

O

O

N

 

Y

 

S

 

S

 

E

 

W

 


 

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

Editorial

Hard Luck Story

A glance at any typical B.B. will show that far too much space is taken up in explaining just why the club' s journal is once again in some sort of trouble.  It would seem that we might almost take it for granted that things will not go smoothly, and leave it at that without wasting space in explanations.

Fair enough.  But the recent troubles have gone on for so long that members, who after all expect their fair share of B.B.’s: are entitled to know just why they haven't been getting it often enough of late.

In January, just when we had got all the team working away - with plenty of stuff to print and lots of willing hands to help out generally, the printing machine started playing up again. This time it was the feed - the mechanism that puts one sheet of paper at a time into the machine for printing. By the time we had reluctantly decided that we wouldn't be able to print the B. B. for January, we had wasted a lot of paper; wrecked several plates and got a whole pile of badly printed copies.

Out first expert arrived and fiddled with the machine.  It seemed to work.  In the meantime, we had got desperate and given the plates for February to a professional firm to print for us.  They were not used to dealing with paper plates, and the result was not very happy. It was now the end of March and we had only produced a rather badly printed February B.B. and some even worse stuff towards January.

However, the committee decided that since we had a lot of plates already typed, and they would all have to be re-typed on to stencils for the Gestetner, the best thing would be to get the printing machine going.

The only difficulty seemed to be the general shortage of, and retiring nature of the experts.  By a sheer stroke of luck, I eventually found one, who came out and did things to various springs.  When he had finalised, the machine fed anything from thin bank paper to reasonably stiff card.  Now that we had the feed going properly, it was possible to adjust the pressures to get the right printing density.  Even so, there are still some small snags, but at least we have a machine which will print. Even better, we now have a tame expert who we can call on straight away if we get any further trouble.

This episode has taught us a lot of things.  Firstly, the cost of professional printing is very high, and a professionally printed B.B. (as some people had suggested at the last A.G.M.) would drain club funds to the extent of stopping almost any other use of club monies.  Secondly, hybrid schemes like us typing the masters and getting someone else to run them off is full of dangers, and so on.

As a result of all this, it is natural that people have stopped writing for the B.B. until they can be assured that it will once again be regular.  This is very understandable, and the B.B. will be kept going by printing various things, like the minutes of the last A.G.M. to keep it to size while the contributions pick up again.

I hope that, after all this, it will not be necessary again to have to spend time and space on the subject of what has gone wrong with the B.B.

N.C.A. and All That

Another subject which seems to go on for ever, and with which we keep threatening readers of the B.B. is that of the N.C.A. and what is happening with the ideas put forward so long by the Southern Council to make sure that the whole thing doesn’t get out of control in the future.  The whole thing grinding its slow and painful way, but a meeting is going to be held late in June and there is some chance that agreement might actually be reached. When we can see through the fog, we will let members know what has actually happened.  Meanwhile, it all goes on a bit like the fictional University of Charterhouse, which members may remember from a Christmas B.B. of not so long ago.

Dinner

We hope to bring you news of the Dinner as soon as possible this year.  One thing is certain - there will be a deadline on the date for booking, so this is a first warning to watch out for details and get cracking when they appear.

Secretarial

Once again there are a few amendments needed to your BEC address list

1582 Chris Hall – 117 Lower Ashley Road, Bristol. BS5 0YL
348L Don Thomas – Pendant, Little Birch, Herefordshire.
830 John Dukes – 35 Cowl Street, Shepton Mallet – Tele 314933
823       Andy Sparrow – 2 Grosvenor Place, London Road, bath. BA3 6HH

New Members:

917 R Hervin - 75a Murhill, LimpleStoke, Bath BA3 6HH
918 R Round - 131 Middleton Road, Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Congratulations to Pete and Joyce on the birth of yet another son and potential BEC Member born Saturday 16 April 1977.  Benjamin Somerset Franklin.


 

A Weekend in the Chilterns

By Graham Wilton-Jones and Bucket

Our weekend's entertainment was set in motion by a telephone call to me from a Farmer who, after the usual pleasantries said "I have been told that you are a Potholer". I answered in my best non-committal way and owned to a passing interest in the sport so the Farmer went on to say that "I have a dead dog in my Well which I would like you to remove - can you do it?  My reply was well, yes, how deep is your well? - 330 feet with a 20 ft depth of water. Slightly staggered by this I replied that I would 'have a go' the next evening - I put down the phone and headed for a drink.

After some reflection I came to the conclusion (inevitably) that there was only one person who could take charge of this venture so I picked up the phone again and called up Scrag (Wilton-Jones) the great Cave Explorer and SRT expert after all he possessed all the rope which would be needed.

Saturday morning saw our arrival at the Farm with the car fully loaded down with tackle, SRT gear and Acrow Screw Jacks, a few hammers and chisels and all the other caving type gear. Whilst we were entertained to coffee by the Fanner we learned that the dog was a Golden Retriever and the W-J (who is something of an animal expert) informed us that it would probably weigh somewhere around the 50-60 lb mark.

When we arrived at the Well we found that it was surrounded by a 6 ft iron fence and to me this seemed to be the ideal time to leave the SRT expert to it but, typically Scrag immediately started issuing orders about the belays and ropes.  An iron pipe was placed over the Well and I was given 100m of rope to lower down the pitch.  I managed to get half of the rope lowered before the inevitable tangle appeared. Naturally the expert instantly noticed this and moaned about it as though the end of the world had arrived or as if I’d left club tackle, in an unwashed condition.  Laying the rope on the grass would have avoided a tangle he said - XX off! and sort out the other ropes whilst I sort this out.  Having solved that, there were then metres and metres of rope laid out on the grass just in time for the spectators to arrive to walk and jump all over (he's a clever lad that way)

Eventually, the Well was rigged with its 100m rope, hopefully to the bottom, and a 40m rope. We were intending to place Screw Jacks across the Well at approx 30m stages to form extra belays for the ropes and to act as work platforms.  The top ten feet of the Well turned out to be a confusion of metal supports where part of the old pump equipment was fixed.  From the top the Well was brickwork to a depth of 41 ft and from there down it was in rock chalk.  The average diameter was 5 - 6 ft and about 1/3 of the area was taken up by the water pipes and pump linkage running down into the water.  These pipes and linkage are supported (1) on wooden leaves let into the chalk - many of them now rotted away at the ends and the metal work was not in its prime condition.

Scrag was kitted up first and decided to go and have a look into the Well so with various comments from the weeg he disappeared into its maw.  When he reached the position decided for the first jack he found a suitable point, locked off and asked me for the tools.  Conversation from this depth to the surface was normal but below the first 30m it became more difficult.  I sent down the tackle bag and whilst Scrag proceeded to cut holes in the Well side and I chatted with the spectators in the sun.  After a suitable time of grunts and groans Scrag suggested that I now send down a jack on the hauling line and then come down myself to cut the second hole.  I carefully lowered the jack such that it would only strike him a light blow and then with trembling legs I connected my shiny new rack to the 40m line and thought of the nice kind practice pitches at Split Rock and Local tree - I launched myself into the shaft trying hard not to think of the 330 ft below.

I met up with Scrag - rather unavoidable really as the Space tended to be a bit limited and after removing his boots from my ears I obtained the tools (not his) and hacked out the second hole for the screw jack.  The screw jack was then fixed in place and to the tune of a couple of choruses of 'Rock Bottom' we both climbed back to the top to sup some ale and listen to the Boat Race.

Soon Scrag felt the need to exercise his leadership with, "You go on down, pick up the tool bag at the first jack, carry on down and start cutting out the holes for the second jack."  Whilst all this was going on Scrag would fix the some rope to the first jack, lower the second jack and see that we had twin ropes at the bottom.  I left him tut-tutting and descended to a lock off at approx 220ft and started to cut out the jack holes.  Whilst I was busy cutting the jack appeared beside me and the 80m rope tangled itself around my gear.  Scrag was only trying to help as usual.

With the second screw jack in place, Scrag joined me and before he could disconnect his rack, I suggested that he carry on down to the water and see if the dog was within reach. After a further 50ft he stopped and said that he had run into a pipe ruckle and I should come down.  I slid down and joined him on a substantial platform which was supporting the old pumping gear.  This pipe work contained pipes up to 6in dia and required ¾ of the available space.  At this point a section of the wall had been hollowed out to allow more space.  The ropes were sorted out and lowered through the hole in the staging.  Below this staging the pipe work consisted of 2-6inch and 4-4inch pipes running down into the water, about 50ft below, restricting space quite considerably although the pipes were strong enough to use as supports.

Scrag descended to the water to see if the dog was visible and found that on first sight there was no sign of it.  After a bit of a search behind the pipes and under the surface he said that he could see it about 1ft below the surface - he prodded the dog and, said, "you'd better come on down, it seems to be caught up in something."  I descended to the water complete with the hauling line and after a bit of a struggle decided that it was not caught up and managed to fix the hauling line around its middle - whilst doing this, gas bubbled from its mouth which did nothing to improve the local atmosphere. At this point Scrag beat a hasty retreat muttering something about fixing up a jumer pulley.  When Scrag fixed the rope we hauled the (past tense) dog up to the pump gear platform – Scrag Sorag looked at it with loving eyes and said "that dog's in fine condition."  I thought to myself he's finally flipped and said "fine condition my left foot!  The bloody thing's got a broken neck" - besides which I was a bit fed up with the noxious fumes the thing had been exuding at me on the way up.

The sack which the Farmer had given us was not really large enough for the dog so we decided to pack up for the day and return with suitable wrapping on the morrow.  Scrag was now going to demonstrate his Gibbs Rope Walkers for the ascent so I had to hold the rope taut, for him to start off. Off he went with a big grin on his face "see you at the top old bucket in about 1 hour," he said chuckling.  Speed hog I quipped back feeling slightly despondent and as soon as he was out of the way I clipped onto the second line and started upwards.  As I approached the bottom jack, where a change of rope was called for, I heard Scrag ahead muttering "siding rope walkers". As I approached the scene I pointed out that I had not expected to see him again until the top and politely enquired if I could assist in his trouble.  The clogs which I was using have been much adapted and allowed for a high speed rope change and as I ascended Scrag reappeared from behind, his legs going like pistons, and rapidly left me behind again - these are just the things for big pitches he said.  I plodded on paying not much attention to the above until I found that there was suddenly a boot in my face - I had reached the first jack and G W-J was still there doing his high speed change over.  As his boot was at a level with my head and his face was very red I wisely (I thought) held my peace until he had once again started on the ascent.

Sunday morning found us with an extra large sack from the Farmer at the top of the Well and we quickly descended to the platform where we had left the dog the day before.  Scrag with great command fixed a jumer to the pipe work and a great debate then arose as to who should be the one to manoeuvre the dog into the sack.  After much unprintable language Scrag prevailed and it fell to me to get the dog into the sack.  Having done so, we quickly tied the dog to the hauling rope ready for its ascent. Whilst Scrag was retreating up to the screw jack I examined the wider section of the Well and found that there were a number of names and initials carved in the surface some of them had dates and the earliest of these was 1899.  I decided to carve B.E.C. 1977 but there was not enough room for the 'Gets Everywhere'.

When Scrag had rigged up the jumer as a clamp to stop the dog going down again after we had hauled it up we set about the long haul.  The system was for me to precede the dog by approx. 15 ft at a time, pull the dog up to me and then repeat the process.  After a long time and a lot of hard hauling work the dog was hauled out onto the surface.

After some liquid refreshment we both descended again and made our way out bringing all the gear as we ascended.  Apart from the ropes tangling up a couple of times this was accomplished with only a slight fuss.  After we had cleared away all the ropes into the car we paid a final visit to the Farmer who expressed his thanks by presenting us with a bottle of Whiskey to share - good spoils!


 

Letter From America

Sue Lord's Latest Missive With Slight Editorial Mods

Greengates School
Apparto Postal 41-659
MEXICO

20th March 1977

Dear B.E.C. Members (Home Section)

This letter ain’t going to be easy as a little kitten keeps attacking me and the paper keeps on flapping (in the breeze) as I lie here on the lawn, soaking up the sun.  Talking of lawns, my diary recalls that a year ago today was a Belfry working day and some of you fine fellas (I think that’s right - omitting Hannam & Co who didn't even get as far as leaning on a shovel) set about the levelling of the Belfry 'lawn' whilst I sat idly on Batstone's bike, in its days of service, doing my tapestry and occasionally making the odd cup of tea.

Anyway you'll gather that the weather's great now - too nice to go caving.  We were due to go off at 6.00 this morning for two days, but last night was the annual rugby dinner and - well, you know how it is.  Actually whilst the speeches were on we said with a sigh how different to a caving club dinner some singing whenever the band stopped - but that was the French club and I only understood the polite words! - no silly games to amuse the young and needy (? Ed).

Last weekend we had a lot of success out at Cuetzalan (the usual area in Puebla State) we get a lot of enthusiasm from people wanting to tryout this daring new sport, but our best convert by far yet is a beautiful and intelligent Mexican senorita who is over the moon about it - she is going to buy a wet suit in the D.S. at Easter (any volunteers to make up a foursome when we tackle some of the wetter caves) - anyway, last weekend we went back to my favourite find - Chicicasapan - a fair stream sinking into an impressive cliff-bottom entrance, which continues somewhat like a cross section between Swildons without its pots and O.F.D’s traversing passage, except just 3ft above the stream (guess I'd better leave the descriptive writing to Pete the way I'm rambling on).

Anyway, whilst surveying aside passage (a terrible habit we've caught from the Americans - but as there ain't no pubs here we've plenty of time for it) we found our way into our first find of old dry passage and at first glance it seems really promising - such excitement!  We are aiming to explore about a km of new passage each weekend we go - we're only working in an area of around 1sq mile and there’s enough to keep us going for another year at least yet.  Get over here some of you and help us out.

Many thanks to Chris for the letter and congratulations to the T.T.T.S. - just don't fallout with the Farmer till after we get back for our holiday next Christmas - we're really excited that the merry Mendip Hills still have the odd something up its sleeves - did anybody ever go back to Pete & Jeff’s push in G.B. or is that left till Christmas for us too?

Don't think we'll quite make Cobbett's wedding, we're planning to join with Boon and those (expletive deleted) 'hippes from Austin' as he calls them, either in Chiapas at Yo-Chip (ah well) or on the Hualtla Plateau at San Augustin which recently 'went deep'.

In the last 6 weeks we have had many visits from people going south which really cheers us up but 'bugs' the neighbours.  After getting in from a party at 3.00 am the other week, an Austin group took our 'any time' invite literally and called for ½ hour at 4-30am.  Boon amused us for 2 days and set off down south with a pot of fried beans to last him to Chiapas and £1 a week for food.  He came all the way down from Calgary with a friend in a 50 Datsun.

Good to get the December BB with the great literary masterpiece by Sue Jordan in it and we still need lots of help out here with a few English type caves (boulder chokes and pitches) which are holding us up because of lack of backup.  Come on out and see.

Sue


 

The Growth of the B.E.C.

How does the growth of the club to-day compare with past years?  Should it be growing as fast as it once did?  Is it still healthy or has it run out of steam? This series of short articles examines these and other questions and comes up with some answers.

PART ONE  -  INTRODUCTION

Our insurers, as most members know, are insisting that we close the list of club members on the 30th of April each year, and that any members who have not paid by that date have to re-apply for membership.  This may well result in a few people deciding not to bother any more.  How much this may matter in the end can be argued but in any case, it would be interesting to know how much this, or any other sudden change actually affects the total membership of the club and whether the membership is still in a healthy position even if it drops.

The B.E.C. have kept more of less complete records since the first of September 1943 – and thirty four years is a longer time than many of its younger members have been alive.  It would be hard luck if we could not learn something from these club records.  It so happens that we can.

These jottings, which may appear in the B.B. from time to time under this title, are not going to be an excuse for ramming a whole lot of mathematics down the throats of unwilling members.  It is enough to say that the way that the club records work out is enough to make any forecaster green with envy. The theory fits the practice so well as to be almost uncanny.  The reason for this is because the average values of everything stay beautifully constant over the years.  Thus, one can construct a model based on these averages and compare it with what actually happened.  To give an example of the way the averages remain steady, if anyone had thought, fit to work out the average rate of new members joining the club up to 1949, they would have come up with and answer of 26.4 new members per year.  If the same sum was done today – some 28 years and nearly between, this average has never risen above 28 or dropped as low as 25.  Thus we have a new bloke appearing once a fortnight or so ever since 1949.

Any given patch of new members who all joined in the same year will dwindle away as the years go on. Once again, the rate of decay is very consistent on average.  Half of them will be gone in three years on average, while only a quarter will be left after 8 years, and so on.

With these steady figures as a background, it is possible to work out how big the club ought to be at any given time.  For example, in 1959 it should have had 151 members.  In fact, it had 148.  All was well, then, in 1959.  However, two years earlier, in 1957, the total should have been 144 and was in fact only 117.  What went wrong in 1957?

Whatever it was (and hopefully we shall examine it later) the actual total varies quite a bit although the average stays steady.  This is due not only to the number of new members in any year varying, but also due to the differences in 'staying power'.  The new members of one year might tend to keep going while in the next year, they might leave much quicker.  The odd thing is that a batch tends to keep going the way it started. This is probably due to the fact that some groups of new members tend to stick together and form friendships, while others do not.

Bearing all this in mind, the next short article in this series will look at the initial expansion of the club, which lasted until 1951.


 

Letters

27, Bath Rd.,
Frome,
Somerset.

29/4/77.

To the Editor, Belfry Bulletin.

I should like it known that the survey of Heale Farm Cave, which appeared in your most recent B.B. is a second rate copy of my material, copied without my knowledge by someone only tenuously concerned with its making.

D.A. Walker

Editor's Note:

On behalf of the B. B. we apologise to Mr. Walker and to Durham University Spelaeos.  As it currently says, at the beginning of the B.B., it is not possible for submitted material to be checked for accuracy of content or other features which might preclude publication other than those which may obviously come to the notice of the editor.  Whenever there appears to be any reasonably doubt, the editor tries to resolve this, but must otherwise depend on the person submitting the material and take it in good faith.  We are sure that our readers will be pleased to know where they can obtain the original information on this cave, and thank Mr. Walker for his letter.

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

The next letter is unsigned, but as it contains much good sense, it seems reasonable to publish it.

To the Editor, Belfry Bulletin.

A PLEA FOR COMMON SENSE

In recent months, Mendip has become increasingly popular among walkers.  One has only to travel between Priddy and Burrington to see a marked increase in the numbers of walkers and ramblers using an already overcrowded hill.

With summer just round the corner, the Mendip farmers are facing an increasing battle to keep their properties from damage by careless visitors and no farmer is going to be pleased to see his dry stonewalls broken or his fences pulled down.  Trampled crops; litter; broken bottles and gates left open are just some of the problems a Mendip farmer has to face annually. Who ultimately gets the blame? "It's they cavers!"

I dare say that cavers are responsible sometimes, for we are none of us saints, but I am sure that a majority of blame rests with the casual visitors many of wham do not realise the waste of time and money which has to be put in repairing the damage they do.

Those of you who cave or walk regularly on Mendip should therefore make an effort to keep the goodwill of the farming community by using commonsense and if you see anyone doing damage, shout at them yourself.  It may work, as they will probably think you are the farmer - that is, unless you happen to be dressed in a wetsuit!

Let us show the farming community that not only are we careful ourselves but that we are concerned about damage that might reflect on our good name as cavers and walkers.


 

Notices

Friday Night Club

Richard Kenney sends us the current list of meets for the Friday Night club and asks if any further volunteers for leading Cuthbert’s trips would come forward.  Dates from June onward are as follows:-

June 10th                      Stoke Lane.

June 24th                      Burrington Meet (West Twin)

July 9th                         Wales.

July 22nd                      Box Stone Mines.

August 5th                    Eastwater.

August 19th                   Lamb Leer.

September 2nd              Coral Cave.

September 16th             Manor Farm.

September 30th             G.B.

October 14th                 Hunters and Thrupe.

October 28th                Swildons.

November 12th               Wales.

November 25th               Cuthbert’s.

December 9th                Longwood.

Paul Hadfield is organising regular trips to Yorkshire and would be pleased to hear from anyone interested.  All meets are at 7.30 p.m. except those to Wales.  Further details from Richard Kenney, 'Yennek', St. Mary's Road, Meare, Glastonbury, Somerset. BA6 9SS.  Telephone Meare Heath 296.

Assistant Hut Warden

Since Bob Cross has departed again for 'furrin parts' up north, the Committee would like to appeal to any member who feels that he or she could help out as Assistant Hut Warden. Please get in touch with Mike Wheadon or Chris Batstone"

Important Notice - Membership

Don't forget that if, for any reason, you have not yet paid your annual sub for 1977, you will not have been included in the list of members sent to the insurance company. The only way by which you can become either a club member or insured is now to GET A MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION FORM FROM MIKE WHEADON AND FILL IT IN TO RE-APPLY FOR MEMBERSHIP OF THE CLUB. This, as you know, is not a nasty move on the part of the committee.  It has been made a condition of our insurance, and we are bound to treat it seriously because otherwise we might well be invalidating our policy.

Committee Notes

Jottings from some of the more recent Committee Meetings

Graham Wilton-Jones reports that Cave Notes 1975/6/7 are about to be issued.  The sections of the Cuthbert’s Report on Cerberus Series, Maypole Series and September Series are practically ready for publication.  Roger Stenner has offered the use of an offset printer for the publications, and supplies of paper are being sought at a reasonable price.  The Tynings Barrow Swallet publication is to be completed in conjunction with the Grampian Cave Club.

At present, it is not considered to be practicable to carry out the central heating proposals, although there is no question as to its feasibility.  The snag is that the best estimates to date lie outside our financial capability.  A 'near miss' occurred when Alfie located a complete central heating system which was being taken out of a small block of flats, but unfortunately it was all thrown on a scrap heap before the club could lay their hands on it.  The chairman has, all through the discussions on this subject, reminded the committee that they have got to answer to the next A.G.M. on the subject.

The Dinner is now definitely confirmed.  We are going back after a lapse of many years to the Cliff at Cheddar.  Older members will no doubt recal1 that this was the setting for the Song Competition and also for the highly successful mannequin parade - also for the flame throwing act put on by the Bradford Pothole Club.

Plans to modify the central core of the Belfry are to be put to the club members, and the committee have given John Dukes the go-ahead to clean up the bunk room.

The Hut Warden says that the experiment to remove the utensils from the Belfry Kitchen has been a success to date.

The Belfry will be used for accommodation as part of the International Congress of Spelaeology during the first week in September.


 

Monthly Crossword Number 74

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

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16

 

 

 

 

 

17

 

 

 

 

Across (Passages)

1. Get there quickly? (3,2)
4. Gated caves are supposed to this the unauthorised caver. (5)
7. Part of Pitch ‘A’ in the Maypole series? (5)
8. Foot oil for old boots? (5)
9. Steam lit gas (on cave floor, presumably). (11)
10. Les is wicked to make a friction mark on rock. (11)
14. A division of gear, perhaps. (5)
15. River associated with brewing. (5)
16. Presumably found in Bigbury according to the maps of Mendip. (5)
17. Cave surveyor gets the edge with this. (5)

Down (Pitches)

1. An unstable on of this does.  (5)
2. Initially, a digging team. (1,1,1,1,1)
3. One of those fancy desk top writing sets may have one.  North Bristol certainly has it. (3,4,4)
4. Is this a man who suggests who shall NOT stand for the committee?  It will cause a division, certainly. (11)
5.  A feature of most club dinners – they have a rack for it in O.F.D. (5)
6. Swallet water does eventually. (5)
10. Device to put under cartwheel to make it slide downhill. (5)
11. Place underground or between. (5)
12. Optimum state of affairs in Hunters hole. (5)
13. Eastern headed version of 11 to go in. (5)

Solution to No. 73

 

F

 

 

U

 

E

 

 

D

 

B

A

T

H

S

W

A

L

L

E

T

 

L

 

 

E

 

S

 

 

C

 

 

S

 

A

D

I

T

S

 

L

 

L

E

E

R

 

N

 

M

A

I

N

 

F

 

E

X

T

R

A

 

N

 

S

L

O

T

 

E

 

S

T

A

L

 

O

 

E

A

R

T

H

 

T

 

 

O

 

 

R

 

A

 

 

I

 

C

R

Y

S

T

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P

O

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L

 

S

 

 

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N

 

 


 

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

Editorial

Many A Slip

In spite of the remarks made in the January editorial, it is now February 14th as I write this, and the B.B. for January is still not printed.  In fact it has now been agreed to issue the January and February numbers together.

This is, admittedly, a setback. It could be said - and no doubt will be said by some - that the B.B. is still just as bad as it was prior to the formation of a team to run it. The snag at present is in the printing. The actual machine is basically reliable and has run for several years without trouble.  The reason why it is taking so long to cure its present troubles is that it is not possible to obtain expert advice, and we are having to learn the hard way, The one great advantage of this is that when we have learned, we will at least know how to avoid these troubles in the future.

In other respects, the team IS working.  The proportion of the B.B. now typed by other hands is now over 50% and the rest of the organisation is working.  Even if it takes us much longer than was originally thought to get the new B.B. running smoothly I am convinced that the team idea is the only real long term solution. Apart from our restoring the regularity of the B.B.

I hope that, as a demonstration during this year, it will prove practical to produce a B.B. entirely by the efforts of the other members of the team. This will show that it is possible for any one member to be unavailable without affecting the B.B.

N.C.A.

Dave Irwin, secretary of the Southern Council, writes on this topic in this B.B.  His suggestions are broadly in line with the findings of the Working Party.  The C.S.C.C. Working Party have met and have recommendations to put to the Southern Council at their next meeting.  We then have the Special meeting of N.C.A. at which, it must be hoped, and some positive decision will be taken.

Secretarial

Again, this month there are some amendments to the Membership List and we welcome some new members together with the return of a few ‘older’ ones: -

New Members :

907 Jones, K.G.             65 MacDonald Road, Lightwater, Surrey.
908 Lord, P.        Greengates School, Apparto Postal 41-659, Mexico 10, DF.
909 Fielding, H 19 Queens Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle on Tyne.
910 Halliday, S 6A Collingwood Road, Redland, Bristol 6
911 Smart, J.A.             c/o 72 Winchester Road, Brislington, Bristol.

Oldies ~

232 Falshaw, C.P          23 Hallam Grange Crescent, Sheffield, S10 4BA.
731 Bidmead, R:F          63 Cassell Road, Fishponds, Bristol.
581 Harvey, C.F             Byways, Hanham Lane, Paulton.

C of A' s

585 Corrigan, A   139 Stockwood Lane, Stockwood, Bristol.
449 Dell, G.T     A 15 Printing, HQNI, B.F.P.Oo 825
830 Dukes, J     6 Butcombe Court, Wrington, Bristol
322L Ellis, B.M    30 Main Road, Weston Zoyland, Bridgwater. TA7 OEB.
894 Ford, P.H.   34 New Street, Deiniolen, Gwynedd.
363 lIes, M.W.   50 Warman Close, Stockwood, Bristol.
550L MacGregor, A.         12 Douro Close, Baughurst, Basingstoke, RG26 5PG
852 Noble, J.G.   18 Hope Place, Tennis Court Road, Paulton BS18 5LT
365L Stenner, R   18 Stafford Place, Weston Super Mare
635L Tuttlebury, S.A  29 Beacon Close, Roundstone, Farnham, Surrey.


 

The 1977 Dinner

Like it or not, the inquest is now complete, or if not then you're too late.  Actually, there has been a reasonable response to the dinner questionnaire though compilation of the results has presented quite a statistical problem in the attempt to decipher opinion and the majority's recommended action.

First Item, STYLE:

74% of the returns think that our type of dinner is right for formality and answering thus, saved themselves the bother of questions 2 and 3 of this section.  Of the remainder, the 'more formality' outnumbered the 'less formal' by 2:1.

Second Item, SURROUNDINGS:

This, I resolved had to be a combined answered item because neither answer to the questions was mutually exclusive.  I found that 46% would prefer the plush hotel but are reasonably happy about some of the recent venues.  30%, (including some of the majority) would be happy if the dinner were held in Priddy Village Hall whilst 15% don’t care about the surroundings.  The rem¬ainder (9%) think that surroundings are important, would not be happy at the PVH yet have been satisfied with recent year's surroundings.

Third Item, VENUE:

This item turned out to have 42% in favour of holding the dinner 'close' to the Belfry whilst a further 42% think that the distance/place doesn't matter.  Only 8% were firm that the dinner should be in Bristol though 4% stated just as firmly that it should not.  As far as distance is concerned, the mean distance turned out to be 22 miles radius but the Mode was 10 miles from the Belfry - so I prefer the latter.

Fourth Item, SIZE:

53% of the responses think that the present size situation is OK whilst the remaining 37% think-that a limit should be set.  Strangely enough, working on some of the restriction suggestions lead to the conclusion that if invoked and all those eligible turned up, we would have greater numbers than ever before.  Apart from that, the suggested limits varied from 100 to 200.  Again, the Mode was 150 and that is roughly as at present.

Fifth Item, PRICE:

This was clearly a difficult question to try to answer in these days of inflation and a range of both maximum and realistic prices were quoted, with the maximum varying from £3.00 to £8.00 – the main being £5.00.  The range for realism was from £4.00 to £7.00 with a mean of £5.00.  In both instances the Mean and the Mods coincided so it seems that our aim should be for £4.00 but prepared for £5.00.

Sixth Item, FOOD:

Not surprisingly, because the question was asked that way, 96% are in favour of a 'better than average' menu though, surprisingly, the question of cold fare versus hot fare only produced a weighting of 12% against – from which I gather that a better than average could turn up to be acceptable.

Seventh Item, SPEECHES:

Once again a problem for analysis as there were really two questions in one and the need positive or negative answers (each) but we got many crosses and ticks meaning what (?). Anyway it seems that ½ the responses think that speeches are a waste of time whilst at the same time 75% think that toasts (which presumably include speeches) are OK particularly if witty and amusing.  They (speeches) should be regarded as part of the entertainment and presentations (not understood by some) if apt, were OK.

Last Item, ENTERTAINMENT:

  There was a total agreement in this matter; it should definitely be part of the BEC Dinner scene.  99% thought our entertainment should be homespun and that the Christmas Barrel and Caving thru the Ages were our best efforts.  11% thought that we should have a professional folk singer and all thought that we should have a system of making the entertainment louder than the audience.

That seems to be the total of the evidence and still it leaves the committee with the problem of venue and facility.  We are asking that establishments such as, say, The Cave Man, The Cliff, City Arms (Wells) Royal Hotel (Bristol) and Nick Barrington’s quote for 150 persons. However with typical prices we will still continue for the short term to pursue the private venue and Catering Service in the hope that we can avoid restaurant prices for Wine and Beer.


 

Heale Farm Cave

Heale Farm Cave was discovered by the Beechen Cliff School Caving Club over two years ago yet remains largely unknown and as far as I know is the first account of the cave to be published.  It is a significant cave in a so far unproductive area and its depth of 195 feet and length of around 500 feet make it the largest development found East of Stoke Lane Slocker.  The cave location is described in "The Caves of Mendip" under the name Heale Farm dig but the entrance is not obvious, being protected by lengths of timber which should be replaced on leaving the cave.

The cave entrance is a free climbable shaft which is 30 feet deep and must be treated with some care due to its instability.  Beneath the shaft, a series of steeply descending squeezes lead down between boulders to a short climb down into a roomier passage.  At this point, the stream becomes audible as a dull roar from below.  Passing through a small hole and climbing down past the hanging death (a suspended boulder) the stream is met emerging from under a boulder pile.  The streamway begins as a low wet crawl before the roof rises at the head of a 23 ft pitch into the Main Chamber.  This can be free climbed but a ladder is advised as the rock is rotten.  The pitch can be one of the wettest on Mendip and is certainly a highlight of any trip down the cave.

From the base of the pitch the large Main Chamber floor descends steeply to where the stream disappears through a hole in the floor.  Passing this point and continuing to the end of the chamber, another hole is reached and this is found to be the way on.  From this point the passages are covered in a thick deposit of glutinous mud and squeezing down be¬tween boulders leads back into the streamway for a short distance to where the stream vanishes into a muddy choke.  From this point the way on is upwards by climbing a 20 ft chimney (one wall is like a vertical manure heap) to a short section of level passage.  This passage ends over a choked pot above which is a difficult traverse and 20 ft climb up into the final 30 ft of passage which eventually becomes too tight to follow.

The Cave appears to be a one stage development formed along a fault.  The possibility of further passage is debateable but the terminal rift is 3 ft wide and over 30 ft high and shows no sign of narrowing before its total mud choke.  The cave still has 100 ft to drop before reaching a resurgence level (Seven Springs, Asham Wood).

One point which should be mentioned is that on the day the cave was dis¬covered the Main Chamber was sumped half way down.  The massive mud deposits in the cave begin at this point and there is the possibility of a seasonal sump (likely but not confirmed).  Access to the cave is controlled by the farmer who is very pleasant and obliging; let us hope that no-one spoils this situation.

The Survey: A copy of the Survey is shown opposite and is based on a BCRA Grade 4.  Several high level passages above the Main Chamber and Terminal Rift are omitted or drawn from memory.

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

SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE DUE TO BE PAID BETWEEN NOW AND APRIL 30TH. FULL MEMBERSHIP IS £3-00: JOINT MEMBERSHIP IS £4.25 and JUNIOR MEMBERSHIP IS £1.80.  CHEQUES SHOULD BE MADE OUT TO THE B.E.C AND ROUTED TO MIKE WHEADON, MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY,


 

Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

January, so the rhyme says, brings rain and snow.  It also brings in the bills to prove that a ten day Christmas holiday is quite expensive - to say the least.  This, of course, could be the cause of the slightly thinner crowds at the Hunters.

To brighten January, though, there has been at least one high spot - apart from the Jagos' party. This was on the 20th when, at approximately 5.30 pm, a coach load of Temperance League members (which included fifteen B.EC. representatives) attended a tour of the Badger brewery at Blandford in Dorset  All went well, even though the driver did manage to get lost in the grounds of the brewery - causing some faithless members of the party to become rather panicky when it appeared at one stage that we would not be able to find the proper entrance and to mutter that the landlord wasn't able to organise the proverbial in a brewery.     Anyway, at 1.45 the next morning, a weary and not too sober party arrived back at the Hunters, after having had an excellent evening and also starting what we hope will turn into an annual event (Hint!)

On to more sober matters. Congratulations to Roy and Roe Marshall on the birth of their son, Andrew Jonathan.  Commiserations to Jenny Sandercott on having her office in Park Street, Bristol blown up - or was it down? - by what will probably turn out to be natural gas.

Come to think of it, this hazard has been on Mendip for some time, especially after a Saturday night barrel! Talking of barrels, Phil Kingston and Yo were back from New Zealand recently and made their visit even more welcome by aiding celebrations with a barrel.  Wig has been seen at the Hunters on several recent occasions, proving that all rumours regarding his disappearance for a meeting of the CNCC; DCA; CSCC: NCA (or, was it the CCC?) were groundless.

Carol and Alan Sandall have also paid their bi-annual visit to Mendip.  Perhaps they may decide, after reminding themselves of the delights of a Saturday night at the Hunters, to come more often.  Dare we suggest once a year?

No wonder that plans are afoot to improve the Belfry again, when our 'hard man' Bob Cross admits to enjoying himself at a Welsh hotel on his recent visit to North Wales.  It is believed that Martin Bishop is again fully mended and working well.  Let us hope that this will be permanent, as surely there is nothing left for him to break! Tony Corrigan has had his operation at last, and we wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him in circulation again soon.

Special Notice

Owing to continuing trouble with the printing machine, this B. B. is to be printed commercially, from our paper plates and, as a result, will be out BEFORE the January B.B. Don't think you have been missed out for January.  We will get this out as soon as the machine is working.  Since it was half printed, it could not be taken on by the commercial printers.

Stop Press!

Tynings Barrow Swallet has gone!  Full details of this new Mendip cave (we hope) in the B.B for March, which will appear (we hope) actually IN March!


 

Notes on the Structure of the N.C.A. and Regional Councils

About 12 years ago, when the controversy over the formation of a National Council began, I published a not very well constructed article in the BB arguing the case in favour of such a body emphasising that it should not be a politically based organisation. What I had in mind was that we had no National Organisation which could speak authoritively on behalf of the caving world in answer to the (then) bad public image that the recreation had acquired due to bad reportage in Broadcasting media and National Press and a well founded National Council could do this in addition to developing interest in various activities and aspect of Speleology by creating (e.g.) a national Library, Conference Centre and ‘Clearing House’ for all forms of information. This was a bit of a long term dream though and to be accurate, there was already in form a National coverage in the Cave Research Group of Great Britain but they were in no way interested in a National Council and even as late as 1970 (When I was a committee member) they still didn’t want to know.

In the interim years however, after long arguments the N.C.A. did come into being (as an all embracing body with a vaguely regional basis) though having no clearly defined path to follow it has, for the last 6-7 years wallowed around wasting effort and clutching at straws in an attempt to demonstrate that it is active on behalf of a cavers.  To this day, cavers remain suspicious of the NCA and fear that it might upset the ‘status quo’.  It has fallen into the trap of forming ‘Special Committees’ which have evolved to the form of Standing Committees, free to take on any business they feel inclined to follow and a as a result have become ineffective, inefficient and intolerably slow, they are viewed by the average caver with disdain and as mini empires, and do nothing but produce unnecessary paperwork.

In addition, the N.C.A. has created some problems for life itself by using poor or misguided information sources (The Sports Council Grant Aid and Whernside Manor to name two) causing misunderstanding in the Caving community.  This, in turn, caused strains on the organisation and whenever any form of criticism was voiced (e.g. Reynolds & Collins) there was a consequent over reaction and stupid actions taken (i.e. backbiting and an absence of published reports etc.)  So the stage exist today where (as far as I can see) the four caving regions are broadly divided into two camps comprised of (CNCC/CSCC) and (DGA/CCC) and the division of opinion is largely due to the influence of individuals who are so totally opposed that it will be difficult to form any evenly representative group of cavers around the Council table at NCA meetings.  The extremes of view range from the individual who believes that the NCA should be the hub of caving activities to the one who believes that the NCA should merely be a watchdog without any teeth.

So, what can be done? In my view the following could be some of the actions taken to resolve the situation: -

a.                  The N.C.A. should be constructed so as to have a Chairman, an Hon. Sec. and Hon. Treas. as elected officers and the Council should additionally be constituted of an elected delegate from each of the four regions (substitutes should also be elected by the regions to meet the case where a delegate cannot attend.)

b.                  Scientific bodies and other specialised constituent members should be unrepresented on the council as all members already belong to the various Caving Clubs who, in turn, are represented at regional level.  These bodies should be operated as advisory and should provide a representation whenever specialised information is required.  This would eliminate the personal professional interest which could slant an investigation to a particular end.

c.                  Special Committees should only be formed when a body dealing with a particular problem does not already exist.  For example, development of 'special equipment' should not be passed to the Equipment Special Committees (as it is at present) but should be passed to the BCRA who are the  'research' organisation and would thus eliminate duplicate organisations and would obviate additional costs.  Should however, a need arise for a special committee then the NCA Executive should appoint/convene one for that part¬icular purpose only and with Terms of Reference which would ensure that the appropriate report back is made.  In general though, the NCA should only make the necessary introductions so that Regional Officials could obtain information and initiate the necessary action.  The NCA should only involve itself in Regional problems when all other efforts have failed to produce the required results.

The current work of the NCA is largely preventative and as an informant to outside bodies and for the 7 or 8 years of its existence has done little else which it can claim as a success.  It has had little influence in the case of White Scar, OFD and is absolutely helpless 30 far as ODB is concerned and the NWCC’s fight with Tarmac.  The successes attributed to the NCA to date have rather been due to the actions of individuals acting in the interests of NCA.

Keeping its workload to a minimum and the contentious 'philosophical' arguments out of the Council/Executive's work area will result in more harmonious relationship with its constituents.  The NCA must, to keep its faith with the 'grass roots', display some interest in the activities of the caving world by acting as a centre for information and by the publication of a Newsletter (the cheapest approach for this would be similar to that used by Church Magazines where National News is pre-printed and inserted into local publications) but giving the responsibility for circulation to the Regional Council.  In the CSCC region a Newsletter has just started being produced and this is circulated to all member clubs and is also on sale at various outlet points to non-member clubs and cavers.  Cavers require rapid and accurate information and if an NCA Newsletter could be seen as being produced together with a local regional publication then this would create a feeling of being part of the one organisation yet maintaining a regional independence.

Regional Councils: To maintain democratic representation on the NCA, the structure of the Regional Councils should be amended to ensure that a policy of one club - one region prevails.  At present, a club may join all the four regions then the regional structure would collapse and be left in the hands of the politicians.  This could easily happen under such circumstances as we have at present where cavers are from being interested in the NCA politics. Membership of a Regional Council should be automatic to a club and it should not have the problem of needing to be proposed and seconded (as though it were a privilege to belong) thus the regional structure would have all clubs within the same framework - the established clubs being able to guide the newer members along the right rails.  This would mean that clubs will be members of a Regional Council of their choice, or, automatically join the Council which is most effective in their home area - this of course suggests that Regional Councils will not be based in the principal caving regions but the country will be split geographically.  Membership should not be compulsory.

In summary, I recommended that the NCA be re-structured around the active caver and should make an attempt to provide him/her with any information he requires.  At the same time, the NCA should attempt to act a as advisor to any outside organisation to ensure that any information it requires (or uses) is correct and accurate.  It would further be advantageous if the NCA encouraged (or if possible; enforced) the specialist –bodies to discharge their responsibilities by passing the appropriate work to them for action.  The status of the Regional Councils should be strengthened by prevention of joint memberships by the caving clubs without at the same time, overriding (the right to veto or some similar mechanism) the freedom of the individual clubs.

“Wig”

Friday Niters

The Inter-Club Friday Night meet programme is scheduled below.  The meet is at the cave entrance at 7.30 pm.  For South Wales trips, names should be forwarded to Richard Kenny (B. Prewer at wells 73757 can pass name on).

March 4th          St. Cuthbert’s (limited number)

March 19th        South Wales

April 1st  Cuckoo Cleeves

April 15th          Swildons

April 29th          Longwood

May 13th Sludge/Nine Barrows

Mat 27th Shatter/Withyhill (limited numbers)

June 10th          Stoke Lane

June 24th          Burrington evening.  Meet at Goatchurch

July 9th   South Wales

July 22nd          Fox Stone Mines


 

Tynnings Barrows Swallet

B.B. Supplement – Late Extra

As many members will by now be aware, the dig in the choke at Tynings Barrows Swallet has gone, yielding at least 3000 feet of passages of which 1,600 feet is streamway and the remainder is side passages.

Members of Axbridge Caving Group looked at the site after it collapsed following the ‘68 floods.  It dropped very rapidly via a clean washed streamway to a gravel cum boulder choke.  However, the farmer, Mr. Paton, decided to fill the collapse in.

Early in 1976 Snab, of the Grampians, having got to know the farmer fairly well was able to negotiate access to the site, and digging started.  On April 18th, only after only five hours of diggings the cave was open once again, various members of the B.E.C. and Grampian having had a hand in the excavation.  Between then and the summer much activity saw a concrete pipe entrance in position, the swallet nearly filled up again, and many boulders below semi-stabilised. Digging at the old choke then started, and, although rather sporadic, little effort was needed for the breakthrough, which occurred on February 15th this year.  A small group of B.E.C. and Grampian cleared the choke, enlarging it considerably from the far side.  On this trip the present bottom of the cave was reached.  Seven other trips and two weeks later many of the side passages have been explored, the survey has been started, and the bottom is being dug.

Descent of the concrete pipe is by ladder, and a second ladder pitch follows immediately into a chamber of mud and large, loose .boulders.  A river of mud then follows – a couple of collapses caused by the heavy winter rains after last years drought have deposited tons of very liquid mud into the upper reaches of the system.  Already this has reached the breakthrough and is destined to go much further.  Only the passage of cavers will keep this upper section open.  The breakthrough is steep, but no longer tight as it was originally.

The main way on downwards is fairly obvious, the passage quickly increasing from a grovel and stoop to walking size, and being joined by three inlets.  Passage sizes especially height, increases further as the climb to an upper series, Paton Place, is passed.  There is a lot of collapse in this region, until the water drops down the Aardvark Trap.  The way onwards, over the Trap, becomes narrow and low, with gour flooring and old, broken stal.  After a small sump and an inlet on the left the passage size increases dramatically and drops steeply down to Pyramid Pot.  In this second large section there is a further collapse, due in part to faulting. However, since all the rock is very shaley (the cave is formed almost entirely within the Lower limestone Shales) the debris has been washed away.

Below the pot, the way on is initially smaller, with the passage zig-zagging, first on the strike, then on the dip, back to the strike and so on.  There are only a couple of places between here and the end where it is necessary to crawl, each for a short distance.  Much of the passage is a high, narrow, strike orientated rift. More stalagmite is to be seen in this lower section, though it appears to be old, and is either broken, very dead, or undergoing re-solution.

Near the present terminus ‘A Day’, there is a gradual build up of gravel deposits, until finally it nearly fills a dip section of passage to the roof.  This is being dug at present, but the excessive amounts of water this winter make progress difficult.

Since the initial breakthrough nearly all the side passages have been fairly well explored, though there are still several loose ends.  The whole of the roof from 'A Day' to Pyramid Pot has been thoroughly checked, and there seems to be no possibility of extension either over the final dig, or elsewhere, from here.  Drunken Horse Passage, an inlet entering from the North, in the lower section of stream passage, goes for about 300 feet to a tight section.  Its stream is full of organic matter.  The lower inlet at the Cheese Grater, a heavily stal-ed narrow section of rift, becomes tight after a very short distance.  Holes among the stal in the zig-zags appear to close down just above the general roof level.  However, a large passage with a wide flow of stal in the same area has been pushed through two low sections to a narrow sharp rift.  Here the spirifer shells, which tear clothes and bodies in other parts of the cave, actually prevented the explorers from continuing along the rift.

The Aardvark Trap has been explored for some distance to a chamber, and then a sump.  This may correspond with the sump in the main passage, above Pyramid.  Just below the latter sump is at least 400 feet of narrow rift passage leading off - Velcro Passage, very appropriately named.  It leads to Hairy Chamber, and also a high level passage with an impenetrable connection with the Upper Series of Paton Place.  This has proved to be an extensive series containing a little, very good stal.  Several skeletons of rodents and some bat-bones (there are also bat bones in the lower part of the cave).  One of the skeletons has already been totally destroyed by someone's boot, all the more alloying considering the handful of people who have actually gone down the cave so far.  The stal will not last long.  Passing via the large Dragon Chamber, at one of the extremities of this series, leads back to a rift just below the breakthrough, so there are two possible routes into the series.

Much work remains to be done. Apart from the exploration, which seems almost complete down to 'A Day' already, there is the new dig itself.  Although this looks very premising it is likely that it will require a considerable effort - much more than the breakthrough did.  The stream can be seen running along a strike passage, over gravel, as far as a nife beam will penetrate in the inevitable mist. The bedrock floor is probably at least ten feet below this level.

The survey of the main passage to the bottom has been started, and the initial line should not be long in coming.  However, the very nature of many of the inlet passages, narrow, twisting, and with an incredible abundance of the sharp, Spirifer fossils, precludes speed or accuracy, and we will probably go for the former, except for the major passages.

Access is at present restricted to members of the digging team and their guests.  This situation will remain until work in the cave, excepting digging, is complete.  Considering that the cave was totally closed for eight years, we are extremely fortunate now that it is open at all.  It is to be hoped that prospective visitors will respect the restrictions and bide their time.  Access arrangements are due to be worked out with Mr. Paton.  Any enquiries for the future should be addressed to the Belfry.

Graham Wilton-Jones.

 

Typed and printed by Townsend Duplicating Services Inc.


 

Proposed Alterations To 'The Belfry

The Committee would like suggestions on the next stage of alterations to the Belfry.  The central core of the hut is not being utilised fully, and the plan below is a possibility, which would not entail a large capital outlay, but would satisfy some of the criticisms that we have had from members.  If you have any suggestions could you let the Hut Engineer have them at the very latest by May 6th.

Main Changing Room

1.                  Move the library into the main room in strong lockers.  The library at the moment is no longer large enough to hold everything.

2.                  Block existing door from library into main room.

3.                  Build low wall as shown, install two shower heads and tile throughout.

4.                  Remove part of wall between library and existing changing room, as shown.  Install 2 metre concrete lintel.

5.                  Build wall between existing changing room and existing shower unit.

Unliberated Persons Changing Room

6.                  Remove wall at the back of individual shower unit.

7.                  Build low wall as shown, install two shower heads and tile throughout.

We have already purchased the tiles that would be required and the only outlay would be for 8 stop-cocks for showers. (The existing mixer valves would have to be replaced in the near future as they are fast becoming un-repairable) plus a small amount of sand and cement. 

To ventilate both changing rooms we have at the moment a 12” extract fan and with a small amount of ducting this could be put into operation.


 

Monthly Crossword Number 72

 

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Across (Passages)

6. Could make the difference to fixed tackle in the lack of trust.  (4)
7. Underground passage on the right lines perhaps in Cuthbert’s. (6)
8. We flood hill, but not by blocking up this swallet. (11)
9. Becoming this is hardly a becoming position for a caver. (5)
10. Affectionate name for late Mendip caver. (5)
13. Many red ties describe cave bearing rocks. (11)
15. Return Journey – led by the nose? (6)
16. The same either way. (4)

Down (Pitches)

1. Primitive boat describes most Mendip swallet caves. (6)
2. A vandal might somehow cast tiles at these. (11)
3. Holy man with three directions for once popular Belfry food. (5)
4. Caves are almost entirely this. (2,9)
5. Three of this in Swildons Three…. (4)
11……and nine of this nearly. (5)
12. Abstainer and three directions for temporary shelters. (5)
14. Hardly a difficult clue. (4)

Solution To No. 71

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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.