Local Services

Search Our Site

QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

Record

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

Opinions

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

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

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

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

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


 

Letters

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

Dear Sire,

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for the interesting story,

Cheers~ Kangy.

Editor's Note:

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

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


 

Club Officer’s Reports 1977

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

1.   HON SECRETARY' S REPORT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

2.   BELFRY ENGINEER'S REPORT.

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

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

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

3.   CAVING SECRETARY'S REPORT

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

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

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

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

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

3. BELFRY BULLETIN REPORT

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

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

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

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

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


 

The Growth of the B.E.C.

PART 5 - THE RECENT PAST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Election Candidates

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

THE CANDIDATES  (In alphabetical order)

1.         CHRIS BATSTONE                    Present Hut Warden.

2.         Martin Bishop.

3.         PAUL CHRISTIE                        Present Assistant Sec.

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

5.         Bob Cross.

6.         Colin Dooley.

7.         JOHN DUKES                           Present Belfry Engineer.

8.         Martin Grass.

9.         Dave Irwin                                 Present Hon. Librarian.

10.        RUSS JENKINS                         Present Climbing Sec.

11.        TIM LARGE                              Present Caving Sec.

12.        Nigel Taylor.

13.        MIKE WHEADON                      Present Hon. Sec.

14.        Maureen Wheadon.

15.        BARRIE WILTON                      Present Hon. Treasurer.

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


 

Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

Monthly Crossword Number 78

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

10

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

13

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

 

 

17

 

18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19

 

 

 

 

 

20

 

 

 

 

Across (Passages)

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

Down (Pitches)

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

Solution to No. 77

 

B

 

T

 

A

 

A

 

L

 

T

O

U

R

I

S

T

T

R

I

P

 

U

 

A

 

I

 

T

 

G

 

S

L

O

P

E

D

 

A

C

H

E

 

D

 

 

 

E

 

C

 

T

 

D

E

N

S

E

 

S

H

O

W

N

 

R

 

C

 

A

 

 

 

 

 

S

P

A

R

 

S

T

R

A

I

N

 

I

 

U

 

I

 

O

 

G

 

P

L

U

M

B

D

E

P

T

H

S

 

E

 

P

 

O

 

E

 

T

 


 

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

Decorating The Belfry

The Belfry Engineer would like to hear from any members who can suggest a suitable décor (such as colour schemes and the like) for the redecoration of the Belfry.  If the colour finally chosen are not to you liking, you will only have yourself to blame.  If you don’t know what you would like, tell him what you would NOT like.

Editorial

Happy Remainder Of The Year!

As explained in the last B.B., difficulties in trying to publish the B.B continue.  Since this is now February 5th, we must wish readers a Happy Eleven Months.

I went to the Annual Meeting of the N.G.A. early in December last and, in spite of rumours which suggested that a rough time might be had by all, I am happy to report that the meeting managed to avoid any form of open conflict.  However, the N.G.A. still has a long way to go before it, can really claim to possess the full confidence of all its constituent members.  In spite of the large amount of paper which it generates (I recently brought back nearly two reams of printed matter and this was just the minutes of that Annual Meeting for distribution by the Southern Council alone) the main failure of N.C.A. to date still seems to be the degree of misunderstanding between its constituent bodies.  Different points of view are bound to exist, but provided they are recognised as being reasonable and constructive and discussed sensibly and without rancour, the N.C.A. still has a chance to become the sort of body it should become.  Perhaps the move to get the executive meetings away from Stafford and into the regions will help.  At any rate, it has bought itself a year’s breathing space.  Let us hope that it uses this wisely.

Theory And Practice

No matter what the club has or has not decided about the frequency of the B.B., it looks as if it is going to come out in practice whenever there is enough material for another issue.  Thus, after a Christmas B.B. that was late by a record amount, this one is for both January and February - not a very good start to 1976 and Volume 30 of B.B.

My plea for help has not yet had time to penetrate, but I shall continue to bang this particular drum because it is vital for the B.E.C. to have a good, lively and regular journal or magazine - preferably edited by some young, keen bloke with plenty of time to spare.  So far, all the hints I have personally dropped have not produced any response. We must hope that behind some caver's rugged; beer-stained exterior there lurks a new editor!

Stop Press

This space being vacant (like the editor's mind) it has proved possible to include two pieces of news about two club members, both of which, I regret to have to say, are bad.

Firstly, it is with extreme regret that we learn of the death of Gordon Tilly.  Until fairly recently, when the deteriorating condition of his spine made it no longer possible - even for him - to get to Mendip, 'Gordie' was regular visitor to the Hill.  In spite of his physic disability, Gordie led a full and active life, and that included caving - something which most, if not all, people in Gordie's state would not even have considered possible.

Al though Gordie’s caving was, of necessity, on a modest scale; in overcoming his difficulties, he showed us that he had the sheer guts which many a 'tiger' might well envy.  His good humour was proverbial and at one time he took an active part in helping to run the club, be on the committee and serving as Hut Warden and as part of the publications team.

We extend our sincere sympathy to his family.  The world will be a poorer place; without Gordie.

We also hear that Tony Corrigan has finally to lose a leg.  We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him about again as soon as possible.

“Alfie”


 

Before the Flood

We start 1976 with a caving article from a bloke who writes very legibly and well but who has not put his name on the article.  Thank you, anyway and let's have some more!

Many people have asked me what the Forty was like before the '68 flood.  Those of you who have climbed it before 1968 will remember the delights. The soakings from the waterfall. Unless you could afford a wetsuit you were in for a pretty cold time waiting at the top to go down, and wondering when it would be your turn.

One of my last trips down the cave before the flood was, in my opinion, typical of many.  We squelched our way across the fields to the cave entrance.  Andy was bemoaning the fact that he had been dragged away from a nice warm pub.  The day was overcast and windy, but with no risk of flooding.

Scrambling in to the block house and down through the we met a good sized stream thundering its way down with us and we got our first soaking.  None of us wore wet suits.  A scramble down the Water Rift, through the Lavatory Pan and we were into the Water Chamber.

We met a party coming out and asked if there was anyone on the pitch. "No, but it’s bloody wet today!" was the reply.  On we pressed.  Clearly we would not have to wait to go down today.  On, along the narrow stream passage to the head of the pot.

I dropped down into the small alcove at the pitch head.  Pete handed me the ladders and rope.  He soon joined and started hunting round for belays.

 “What's wrong with the bolts?” I asked.

"Don't like the look of 'em!"

I tugged at one.  It wouldn't budge. "Come on!  Let's get this ladder down" I said.

As it went down, the sound of rung on rock mingled with the splash of the water falling into the pool below.  The lifeline was made secure while I tied on and Pete took his usual stance for lifelining, sat at the back of the alcove.

"At least I will have company if I fall off."  I said as I perched on the edge of the hole.  "Hold me on the line!"  I felt for a rung and climbed down.  Five or six feet from the top the waterfall hit me.  'Christ!  That was cold,' I thought.  Climbing down always seems to take longer.  The ladder swung me in and out of the waterfall.  The water hammered on my head and down my neck.  Suddenly I was at the bottom.  I stepped clear of ladder and waterfall and untied. "O.K." I shouted up the pitch.  Nothing I shouted again.  The line twitched and then disappeared upwards.

I looked up the pitch. The flash of his cap lamp as Jim climbed down through the freezing shower bath was all I could see.  He reached the bottom and stepped off into the pool, extolling the virtues of the Forty in fluent Anglo Saxon. "Should have hung the bloody thing from Suicide's Leap", he added.  I remarked that it was more sporting the way it was.

Andy came down next very quickly.  He explained that, Pete was rigging a double line.  We lifelined Pete down and set off for Sump I.  An hour later, we were back at the Forty, feeling cold and tired.  We found another party descending and arranged to come up between their descents.  Jim climbed up first and lifelined the remainder of the other party down.  I took the lifeline from the man who had just descended and tied on.  My turn at last!  My feet were numb and I wondered if I could make it back up the ladder.

“Take up slack!”  I shouted.  The line went tight.  I climbed up fairly quickly.  At first the water splashing over me made no difference, but soon my clothing felt like lead weights.  Out of the water now and not far to go.  It’s good to feel the lifeline tight round one's waist.  I stop a second to get my breath. A last effort, and I pull myself up over the top, panting.  I untie the line and struggle through the keyhole.  Soon, we are all back at the top of the pitch.  Pete and Andy are rigging the pitch with the other party's ladder, while Jim and I fold our ladder for the carry out.

Twenty minutes later we are back in daylight walking slowly over the fields to Maine's Barn and thinking of the thermos of coffee and warm clothing that awaits us.

Editor's Note:     I have since found that this was written by person than your friendly Hut Warden - Chris Batsone. Thanks, Chris.

 
 

Mik’s Peregrinations

One of the many snags of late publication is that 'topical' features become old history by the time they get read.  All the same, here is an account of the Christmas festivities at the Belfry!

During the Christmas celebrations at the Belfry in 1974, when a group of diners could find no room at the inn, it was decided that an attempt woulld be made to repeat the 'performance in 1975.  Being kept on tenterhooks during the year as to who would, or would not, be able to come, some of those at the 1974 dinner finally agreed that they would be able to come, and an open invitation was offered to the remainder by way of Hunters.

Anyway, Arthur Laws agreed that since he would be working in any case and since he enjoyed the 1974 effort, he would come and chef for us again, so on Christmas Eve a small group turned up at the Belfry to scrape away last weeks cooking fat, clean the windows and put up some Christmas trimmings to bring about the usual festive Belfry look.

This done, and with firm instructions to those resident to keep the fire going, we went away to meet again on Christmas Day when the Hunters opened.  I'm not quite sure who turned up first, but early arrivals were Mike and Maureen Wheadon with the Palmer family of Theresa and Kirstine.

Next came the Belfry residents - Garth, John Dukes, Chris Zot, Jen Sandicott, Pete Eckford and Maryon, Paul and Pat Christie.  Alan and Hilary were then speedily on the scene followed by Keith Murray - recently returned from his spell in the Republic of Chad.  Next to arrive were Mike and Pat Palmer with the chef's four children and a few catering items.  Finally, to complete the intending diners came Keith Newbury, who incurred the wrath of the Wessex for joining our gathering in ‘74 but now seems to be on speaking terms with them again.  Of course, by this time the Hunters was beginning to become quite merry and although the session was shorter than usual, it was very enjoyable.  At closing time, quite a large group gather at the Belfry, but since our barrel was late in arriving and people started shifting round the tables, they drift off to places unknown.

This year, although the Belfry table naturally had pride of place, we made use of our connections with the village hall and borrowed tables and chairs from them with a certain amount of juggling (while Zot incited the children to riot) we managed to get everything ready for the magic time when Arthur would arrive.  After our long wait last year, we were surprised when he arrived at full gallop quite early and in no time at all we were seated round the table tucking in to a pleasant un-named soup (could have been asparagus, but Arthur wasn’t quite sure) which was followed by prawn cocktail which was in turn followed by the main course of turkey or beef with roast and new potatoes, sprouts, swede and carrots, after which a large plateful of turkey was passed round to keep the plates topped up.  There was either white or red wine (Some by courtesy of Keith Murray ex-Algeria) to rinse between mouthfuls and when we had completed this course there was Christmas pudding and, after Arthur had dashed off home to fetch it, some trifle.  This was followed by brandy in coffee or coffee in brandy according to taste.

Very replete bodies then tottered off to various places - Zot to his pit, Maureen to somebody else's pit, Jen and Pat Christie to their respective sleeping place and Timothy Ashleigh fell out of his on to the Belfry floor.  We were then joined by Richard Stevenson who, with Chris Batstone, Jon Jon, Chris Hannam, Rodney Hobbs, Claire Chamberlain et al. were dining at Greystones later in the day.  Then came the Collins family, who seem to be cramming in a lot of appearances at the end of the year.  They stayed to cheer us up for a time before departing for the Wessex.

After some hours, we all felt able to totter up to Greystones for a tot on the way to the Hunters, where we were regaled with port and mince pies and treated to the spectacle of Hobbs and Hannam washing up.  Then on to the Hunters itself, where we reluctantly drank several pints before returning (after closing) to pasties and Bubble and Squeak for all at the Belfry. Thus ended Christmas day.


 

Seeing the Error Of their Ways! 

Scientific caving with a twist.  An interesting oddity to make surveyors think twice.

by Alfie.

A cave surveyor is approached by a digging team.  They want to sink a deep shaft to break into the far reaches of a big cave. Unfortunately, the passages in this part of the cave are small, so they want to know where to sink the shaft to the greatest degree of accuracy possible.  Other methods, such as electromagnetics, hay proved unsuitable, so they are depending entirely on the surveyor, who they approach with high hopes.

The surveyor points out that, however carefully he checks and calibrates his equipment and however careful he takes his readings and avoids mistakes, there will be an error left due to the imprecision of his readings.   I will be a random error, but should not amount to more than 0.5O in bearing and a total of 0.1 m in position and distance combined (let us conveniently forget elevation to make the argument simpler!)

The diggers say that this is fine.  4 inches for instance, and they weren’t expecting anything quite as good as this. The surveyor (noting that the diggers are bigger and uglier than he is) points out that these errors are for each leg of the survey.  As the cave is about 1km long (5 furlongs to you!) there will be about 100 such legs from the entrance to the point in question.

The diggers scratch their heads, and finally ask the surveyor how far out he reckons to be. The surveyor says he reckons to be about 1½ metres out.  The diggers, after more head scratching, point out that over a hundred measurements, he ought to be about 400 inches out and 50O, since these figures are a hundred times his error a single leg.

The surveyor, assuming a crafty expression, says that you might expect that sort of thing, but luckily the errors tend to cancel each other out.  His figure of about 1½ m allows for this.

One of the diggers, who has been lost in thought, asks the surveyor what he means by the errors tending to cancel each other out.  Does this mean that the surveyor is taking a gamble when he says that he is within a metre and a half of the real point underground?

The surveyor, abandoning his crafty expression, has to agree that this is so.  He points out that there is about a 70% chance of his point on the survey being within 1½ of the true point underground.  The diggers say that this is all very well, but they are going to have to sink a three hundred foot deep shaft through solid rock, and they don't want to be fobbed off with excuses (if the shaft misses the passage) about what rotten luck it was.  The surveyor, noting that the diggers are getting somewhat belligerent, says that if they want certainty, then he cannot guarantee that his end point is better than about 12m from the real point, but adds that it would be very unlikely indeed to be so far out.

The diggers, after much calculation, agree that 12m is a little over 39 feet.  They ask the surveyor if he can tell them in what direction the true point will lie.  The surveyor admits that he cannot.  One of the diggers, a more educated man, then draws a diagram illustrating the state of affairs.  If 'S' is the surveyed point and 'T' is the true point, then the areas shown are the state of affairs, except of course, that the position of 'T' will not be known. Thus all one can say with certainty is that 'T' must lie somewhere within 12m of 'S'.

The surveyor says that this is true, but again says that it would be very hard luck if the distance anywhere near 12m.  He says that, if they are really worried about the chances, then he can run a second independent traverse from the entrance to the point in question, by a different route if necessary.  He will then have two points representing the point they want, and the real point will almost certainly lie somewhere between them.  He points out that this will reduce the whole uncertainty by quite an amount.  The digger who drew the diagram shakes his head.  He asks the surveyor straight out if he accepts the 12m radius from the surveyed point as being all that can be stated with certainty about the possible position of the true point, like this….

….and the surveyor agrees. The digger now says that if a second point is surveyed, the same sort of thing will also apply for it as for the first, except that the radius might well be different depending on the second route through the cave.  He now draws this diagram….

The surveyor agrees that this is so, but says that it is unfair the way that the digger has shown his two points to be almost as badly out as is possible.  He says that he is quite sure the two points will be much closer together than the way the digger has showed them to be.

With a crafty leer, the digger accepts this change.  He draws a new diagram showing a much smaller error…

As the surveyor looks at the new diagram, his jaw drops and beads of sweat form on his brow.  The amount of mis-closure between the two traverses is now much less, showing that the surveys are now more accurate - and yet much less is now known about the true position of the point in question! It would appear that the less accurate the survey, the better was the position of the actual point known to the surveyor!

The diggers wait patiently for the surveyor to come to some conclusion.  They finally (because it is getting dangerously close to opening time) ask the surveyor what this means.

The surveyor replies that it means he will be resigning from B.C.R.A. and taking up some entirely different pursuit in the future.  The diggers, faced with the possibility of having to drive adits from the bottom of their shaft and, in any case, being possibly even less accurate in depth (a nicety that we agreed earlier to overlook, since things are quite bad enough without any further complications) agree to join him.  At present, we understand they are looking into Morris dancing as an enjoyable pastime!

The editor wonders what any of the club's cave surveyors make of the above, and would be pleased to hear if we still have any left after they have read this article!


 

A Constant Current Battery Charger

After what seems a clear case of club members putting the club motto into practice again, we move into somewhat higher realms of thought with this recipe for a battery by the indefatigable Graham Wilton-Jones.

The simplest way to charge up a cell is to use a source of D.C. voltage higher than that produced by the cell to be charged and to limit the current to the 1 or 2 amps required by means of a voltage dropper resistor.   A 12 volt car battery can be used as the source of D.C. and an ammeter placed anywhere in the circuit can be used to monitor the current.

Figure (i)

 

Many of us use such a system for charging cells from a car battery charger.  Two cells can be charged together and wired in series. This simple system has disadvantages. The voltage dropper resistor, which can be a piece of electric fire element, becomes very hot and may get hot enough to cause fires, melt insulation on nearby wires etc.  In addition to this, as the e.m.f. of the cell being charged increases, the current flow decreases and thus, if you want to charge at a constant current, the voltage dropper resistor must be constantly decreased.

A simple form of constant current charger appeared in the March 1975 issue of the Journal of the Northern Cave Club.  (I thought that there were several clubs up in the North! - Ed.) and is reproduced below:-

Figure (2)

The transistors are NPN power transistors.  Such a circuit provides a constant currant of 2 amps across output.  Exchanging the 0.35 ohm resistor for one of twice its value reduces the current from 2 amps to 1 amp.

This system, too, has its disadvantages.  Control resistors of 0.35 or 0.7 ohms have normally to be fabricated.  Again, electric fire element wire is suitable. However, the circuit is unstable and is especially affected by temperature changes.  Tr.1, in particular, gets hot and this affects the output current.  The control resistor gets almost as dangerously hot as does the voltage dropper in the simple circuit of Figure (i).  Lastly, it requires a 12 volt supply which must remain constant at 12 volts.

In the circuit shown in Figure (iii) below, all these disadvantages have been eliminated.  Tr.3 has been replaced by an operational amplifier and the Darlington pair of Tr.2 and Tr.1 has been replaced by a Darlington pair in a single unit.  A Zener diode cuts excess voltage and all components are standard and commercially available.

Figure (iii)


 

Switzerland 1975

An account of a trip made by club members last year

by Roy Marshall

On the 27th of July, Bob Sell, Derek Target and myself were at Saas Grund in Switzerland.  We were half way through a Swiss climbing holiday. With us were our wives (girl friends, children etc.)  The weather was fabulous - the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky.  It couldn't last.

In the previous week we had climbed two training routes from the valley.  The Mittaghorn - 3143m (10,312ft) and the Gemshorn.  The Mittaghorn is a steep easy ridge above Saas Fee.  We were prevented from making the round trip Mittaghorn-Egginer-Felskin-Sass Fee by bad weather and the fact that we had little equipment with us.  The ridge from the Mittaghorn to the Egginer looked quite interesting.

The lower slopes of the Mittaghorn have an interesting walk planned out.  The path follows the lower slope around Saas Fee and at intervals walkers are persuaded, to perform exercises described on notice boards. These slopes also abound in Chamois and Marmot.

Two days after our ramble up the Mittaghorn we an early start to climb the Gemshorn.  We left the camp site at 3 a.m. to drive the 2-3 Km (1¼ - 1⅞ miles) to Saas Fee (½km or 550 yards on foot).  The long slog through Saas Fee was uneventful.  The slog up to the snow was more pleasant, once we had cleared the houses.  On reaching snow we were disappointed to find it was in rotten condition.  The slope was about 45O but the snow was so rotten that we would often fall through up to our thighs.

We struggled to a point about halfway up the slope to a rock island at the foot of a gully.  There was some evidence of recent snow slips, like mini-avalanches. We sat on these rocks, gathering our breath and eating our lunch when we were disturbed by a low rumbling, cracking sound.  Without waiting to see what was going on, we ran across the snow away from the sound. From a safe distance we saw that half a ton of rock had fallen from a wall about thirty feet away from us.

After a reasonable wait we returned to our discarded gear and after some discussion we decided to continue up the gully.  As we climbed toward the ridge the snow became even worse.  The walls on either side - much closer now ¬looked horribly unstable.  Discretion took the greater part and we reversed.  As we staggered across the last patches of snow we were hysterical. We had fallen through the snow so often that we were just falling about laughing.  We stayed on the rocks for some time, eating our witchity grubs and watching a couple of ibex feeding among the rocks a short distance away.

On the following day we drove to the Mattmark.  This is a nice easy way to reach the snow, the car park being at 2200m (7,218ft). It is a nice place to take the family for a walk.  Sunday, being a day of rest, we spent in preparing our gear for our Matterhorn climb. Late in the afternoon, Bob, Derek and myself piled into Derek's car to drive to Tasch.  The road to Zermatt is not open to tourists and the only way is to walk or to catch a train from Tasch.  From the train, there was no way to make us walk from Tasch, we walked through Zermatt towards the Hornlii hut on the Matterhorn.

The Hornlii hut is four hours walk from Zermatt or two hours from Schwarzee.  From Zermatt, two cable cars take you to Schwarzee.  We, of course, took the cable cars as far as we could. The walk from the cable station to the hut has been described as an endless series of zigzags.  We described it in one word.  This word was uttered softly and frequently, with backs bent and gasping for breath.  Sh….!

At about six o'clock we booked into the hut and set about cooking a meal.  Cooking is not allowed in the dining areas of the hut, but a special room is available at ground level.  We changed our boots for hut boots - solid wooden clogs with remains of a fur lining and set up our stove to cook our stew, followed of course by witchity grubs.

On the way up, we passed an American climber who, when meeting us at the Hut, asked us if he could join in on the climb.  This we agreed to.  A German climber also joined us.  He had climbed the Matterhorn seven times already, reaching the top twice and was too good to pass up (unpaid guide, my boy!)

The evening was glorious. From the dormitory window it was possible to look down to Swarzee and beyond to Zermatt.  We went with George (our German companion) to suss out the first part of the route.  As we climbed, we could see the Monte Rosa to the east (?) and on the skyline we could just make out the top of the Eiger. As the sun set, we watched the snow change colour from white to silver to golden red.  After scrounging some of George’s tea, we settled down to sleep. The nights had been pretty cold in the valley, so we thought that up in the hut it would be even colder.  We got into our sacs fully clothed and pulled the two blankets supplied over the top.  The hut was unheated, but the heat generated by the twenty five sleeping bodies made it very warm.  In the end, we were all just lying under our sleeping bags.

We had prepared our gear the evening before.  We had religiously read the guidebook and decided the course of action.  We tore out the pages of route description from the book and put them to more useful purpose.  The guidebook is of little help in route finding.

At about 3.30 a.m. we started our climb.  It was cool with a bright moon.  The moon was so bright that our headlights were only necessary in deep shadow.  We solo until daylight.  This is something I regret in many ways and certainly is something that I don't recommend.  Three climbers had been killed doing just this during the previous week.

The climbing is easy but steep, the rock loose dusty.  Below the Solvay Hut (an emergency bivouac hut) the route become very steep and metal belay spikes have been provided.  The Solvay Hut at 4,000m (13,123ft) is blessing.  I had taken so many photographs in taking crafty rests that I risked running out of film.  This was the highest I had climbed and I was finding that the height was affected me quite badly.  I had to rest for a short while in the hut.  We were all feeling the altitude to a greater or lesser extent.  The hut was also a good place to leave our heavy gear.

We climber on from the Solvay Hut.  Again, steep loose rock until it was time to put on our crampons.  Altitude sickness usually passes when you have passed your critical altitude - with some of our party it did not.  This left us with the decision whether to split the party or not. Splitting would have meant leaving people on the mountain from up to 3 hours.  This fact and the forecast of thunderstorms in the afternoon decided us. We turned back at 4,100m (13,451ft) a mere 300m (984ft) from the top.  The worst over, with an easy snow slope followed by fixed ropes to the top. The fact that the last cable car down from Swarzee left at 6.45 helped us to decide.

Higher than the Eiger, we could have pushed it to the top, but it would have left us pretty knackered. The trouble with mountains is that you have to climb back down, and going on would have drained our energy for the necessary return trip.

We weren’t pleased to find that the guided parties had gone through our sacs which we had left in the Solvay Hut and drunk all our water.  This only reinforced our opinion of the guides.  They had climbed over us going up and now they had taken all our drink. Anyone would think that they owned the mountain.  This, of course, did not apply to all of the guides; we had pleasant conversations with a couple of the older ones.

Money and other considerations being equal, we hope to return in 1977 to have another go.  This time, we need to be fitter and more acclimatised to the altitude.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 64

 

1

 

 

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

6

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

11

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

1. Cops out in Cuthbert’s chamber. (7)
4. Direction of travel after pot-bottoming? (2)
5. Small caving operation. (2)
8. Safer bet illustrated by cavers entering and leaving cave. (4,3)
9. Masters of cave follows these. (7)
10. Exclamation. (2)
12. Correct. (1,1)
13. Drunkards walk in formation? (7)

Down

1. See 5 across. (2)
2. Northern trespassers angry in afterthought. (7)
3. Thus. (2)
4. Discover caver underneath muddle without Plumley’s. (7)
6. Risk pus with a climbing knot? (7)
5. Individual entries on a list of gear, perhaps? (5).
7.  South proverbially mad east Mendip cave. (7)
11. Old English. (1,1)
12. Officer commanding. (1,1)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

R

A

W

L

B

O

L

T

S

H

 

 

A

 

R

 

 

T

I

 

I

N

L

E

T

 

R

N

O

T

E

 

S

I

T

E

O

 

E

 

 

 

G

 

A

R

I

M

S

 

T

H

E

M

I

 

S

H

O

R

T

 

W

F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A

T

H

E

W

E

T

W

A

Y


 

Club Headquarters

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

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

Members           Chris Batstone, John Dukes, Chris Howell, Tim Large, Mike Wheadon, R. Marshall, Barry Wilton.

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. MARSHALL, 7 Fairacre Close, Lockleaze, 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

Spares                          T. LARGE,  Address already given

Membership Sec.           Mrs. A. DOOLEY, c/o The Belfry.  TO WHOM ALL SUBS SHOULD BE SENT.

 

All contribution to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, are not necessarily the opinions of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless explicitly stated as being such.

QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

Blunt Speaking

Once again, it has been necessary to produce a joint issue of the B.B. - this time for April and May. After the March B.B. was completed, there was no material left to start this one and, as I write this on May 6th, there is still only enough material for about 5 or 6 pages of this B.B.

I have heard that the present position of the B.B. has been the subject of some grumbling amongst club members.  It would be interesting to know against whom any such grumbles are directed.  Not, one hopes, against the editor who has already made it quite clear that he no longer has enough time to chase people for articles; who has already appealed for help with this matter; who has pointed out that he came back to edit the B.B. on a temporary basis and who has let it be known that he would be only too happy to co-operate in any way - including handing over the entire job to some younger member.

No, I am afraid that (with perhaps half a dozen or so exceptions) if anyone is looking for a culprit to blame for the present state of the B.B., then he or she need look no further than into the nearest mirror.  The B.B. is not mine.  It is (or should be) yours.  What have YOU done about it lately?

Good News

Having got the above off my chest on the principle that I really ought to type SOMETHING before June arrives, I am very pleased to be able to announce that volunteers have now come forward.  Andy Sparrow and 'Mr' Nigel have promised to do all they can to make sure that articles start to flow again.  The immediate aim is to get the B.B back to a regular monthly basis again.  When this has been done, Andy has expressed interest in taking a bigger part in running the B.B., and it could be that a new editor is on the way at last.  In any case, let us hope that this period in time marks the end of the current decline in the B.B. and the start of a new phase of activity.

More Good News

A B.E.C. digging team, led by Snab, have re-opened a cave on Western Mendip after a record breaking four and a half hours dig through fifteen feet of infill.  To all those who know the whereabouts of this hole, PLEASE do not visit the site without first checking with Snab.  The reason is that it is vital to maintain good relations with the farmer, who does not want to see a general free for all happening on his property.  Nobody is trying to keep interested cavers away - it is a question of either submitting to a certain amount of discipline OR having the cave closed again. Incidentally, the diggers refer to themselves jocularly as the Tynings Institute for Troglodytic Studies.

Insurance

As many members know, the club’s public liability insurance policy expires in August.  After this date, the club must either have got itself a new policy or made some other arrangement.  Unfortunately, the present situation is - to put it mildly - somewhat confused.  It is hoped to include some sort of informative article this B.B.

Councils and All That

It is reported that, currently, the Northern Council is still in a state of disarray, with the pirates maintaining their stand and the others pointing out the dangers of ignoring access agreements.  The Southern Council, although happily free from this sort of internal trouble, failed to obtain a quorum for its annual meeting and the chairman has had to ask the clubs who did not attend to ratify the proceeding subsequently.

While this state of affairs may well please those who would like to see an end to all forms of control over caving and who are, perhaps rightly, suspicious of any form of representative bodies; it must not be supposed that a collapse of the present council structure would achieve this object.  In the absence of a credible form of council structure, other interested bodies might well claim to represent caving and the interests of cavers and over such bodies, the average caver might well find he had less control than he currently has over the council structure.  Many of us feel that, whatever may happen, the control of caving on Mendip should remain in the hands of the Mendip based clubs - and the Southern Council still appears to be the most effective way of ensuring this.

“Alfie”


 

Oh, No! Nor Again!

Our Hon. Sec. Mike Wheadon, shows that the size of a cave depends to a great extent on your point of view!

Just over a million years ago, I think it was about 1957, there was one of our periodic events concerning the B.B., that is, a shortage of material for publication.  So, heeding one of Alfie's many appeals, I put on my pen and wrote an article which was about nothing at all.  Strangely enough, lots of people found it sufficiently interesting to write in and thereby make sure that it was not necessary to publish articles about nothing at all for some time there from.

Still, enough of this drivel.  If you are not bored by now, you must be intrigued sufficiently to read on.  I have observed that nostalgia is a best-seller with the club, so I’ll bring an unbelievable amount of caving into the picture by mentioning Goatchurch Cavern .

Some of our readership have already heard of this notorious cavern, no doubt - but for the uninitiated, “It is situated about three hundred yards up the Lower Twinbrook Valley, elevated some hundred feet or more above the little stream which is swallowed up just below.”  Anyway, it was to this place that three non-aligned novice cavers cycled from Wells one Friday evening.  Their names were Mike and Albert (shared between them, of course.)

Anyway, there was this bloke, Herbert Balch, who had gained some sort of reputation on the caving scene prior to our arrival, and this fellow had also written the odd book or two, which we had felt was compulsive reading.  This book (particular) "Mendip, Its Swallet Caves and Rock Shelters", gave not only a plan of the cave but also a description and, returning to my story, we decided that we should search for a lost chamber. After all, what Balch could once find, we could also find.

Friday evening then, with no thought for the Hunters, Castle of Comfort or the Feathers, we parked our cycles and humped our expedition rucksacks up to the clean airy entrance where we charged carbide lamps and changed into our warm woollies and overalls. Then, almost breaking our necks on the stairs, we straightway made for the dining chamber to set up camp - we were, after all, expecting to spend several hours in the cave.

Although we had all been in Goatchurch once before and were, therefore, quite intimate with its passages (Shame! - Ed.) we nevertheless explored all the passages carefully as they descended to the Water Chamber.  Then, bearing in mind the danger of getting stuck in the Drainpipe, we carefully writhed our way to the Terminal Rift.  With today's knowledge, we can tell that we weren't the most intrepid of cavers, but then we decided that there was nothing more at the bottom, so we had better retrace our steps, searching for the place where Balch “entered through the floor of the Boulder Chamber above the slide” as he called it. We boldly went where no man had gone before - down the rift marked ‘Bloody Tight.’  It was, but we made it, even if we didn't find the slide.

I could go on and on (I know, I have!) describing the struggles and thrutchings we made searching for that "small chamber with a stone pillar standing erect and supporting, as it were, the roof" but we got fed up and decided that our time was up. We returned to the Dining Room, collected our gear and surfaced to daylight.  Yes, daylight!  The trip had lasted over TWELVE HOURS.  I suspect that this is probably a record for Goatchurch, but I can think of no reason to return to repeat the epic and if this ever gets printed, it will at least fill a space.

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

This B,B. threatens to become a Goatchurch Appreciation Number, judging by the next article, sent to us by Annie Wilton-Jones.  Club members should note that they are obviously depriving themselves of valuable experiences (to say nothing of material for their eventual memoirs) if they fail to visit Goatchurch regularly - the Cave Where It All Happens!


 

Tailor – Made!

by Annie Wilton-Jones

Contrary to popular belief, the Wilton-Jones family isn’t eccentric.

After all, there is no law which says that a man must spend the last night of his bachelor freedom at a drunken stag party.  (I bet not many members of the B.E.C. knew that: - Ed.)  It's quite acceptable for him to spend the time quietly reminiscing with his best man.  Which explains why, on the eve of our wedding, Ian and Graham were to be found alone together - making my trousseau!

Several hours later, when I had been enlisted as a Wilton-Jones, I was delighted to be presented with my lovely, new, handmade suit.  I didn't wear it for my 'going away', but kept it wrapped up for a few days until we arrived at Inchnadamph, Sutherland.  Then, for the very first time, I wore my new wetsuit!  Well, doesn't everyone go caving on their honeymoon?

There was one slight problem regarding my wetsuit.  There had been so little time available for the making of it that the pieces had merely been stuck together, the taping and stitching being left until after the honeymoon. It was decided (by my beloved husband) that although the suit could be worn, it must be protected by a full outfit of grot-gear over the top of it.  Thus, our honeymoon is recorded for posterity in a collection of slides showing a ten-ton rubber whale, wearing jersey jeans, paddling across a river chamber and climbing an underground waterfall like some ungainly salmon.

For those who don't know it, to digress from the main object of this account for a moment, Cnoc Nam Uamph in Inchnadamph is a very pleasant, fairly small cave offering some sporting opportunities for those who so desire.  There are sumps and a water race - in full spate during our visit - river passages with cascades, a small decorated chamber and rabbit warrens. Whilst I would not recommend travelling to the North West of Scotland for the sole purpose of visiting this cave, it's a worthwhile trip if you happen to be in the area.

Honeymoon over, we returned home and, shortly wards, took ourselves off to the Belfry.  I was in a state of great excitement as, having served my apprenticeship on O.F.D. - Cwm Dwr, St. Cuthbert’s and Swildons IV.  I was now to be allowed to tackle the big stuff – Goatcurch.  The wetsuit was, needless to say, still in its un-taped and unstitched condition, but Ian had actually said that I needn't wear grot-gear, which was lucky as I had forgotten to bring any.  The swimsuit I normally wear under caving gear had disintegrated thanks to cave and so, clad only in wetsuit~ boots and helmet, I entered into the weegee haven.

All went well until we slid into a side passage look at a dig.  At that point, I felt a definite draught enter my wetsuit at a place where it should not have been able to enter.  This phenomenon was soon explained when I discovered that the neoprene cement had given way at an awkward place and a two inch hole had appeared in the seam of my wetsuit trousers.  Undaunted by this slight setback, I continued with the epic trip, arriving at the Drainpipe with the gap now a worrying six inches long.  A quick wriggle along the Drainpipe was followed by an even quicker wriggle back, as the gap was now all of two feet.  A rapid retreat was necessary before I was left with a pair of 'two piece' trousers.

Which is why I was caught, in my trousseau, escaping from Goatchurch, to the astonishment of thousands of bareheaded, torch-carrying weegees, crying,” I just can't go on!”

However, I am not eccentric.


 

More Cave of Southern Wiltshire

Andy Sparrow bears out Fred Davies's famous dictum in this article, 'Caves is where you find 'em.'

This article continues from that which appeared in the B.B. for January 1975, describing some small finds made by the Salisbury Caving Group in the Vale of Wardour.  The previous article brought us up to the end of 1973, by which time we had found over 1,000 feet of mine passage and one short natural cave - Ammonite Rift.

For Over a year, little attention was paid to the area.  Then we acquired a 2½ inch O.S. map of the southern half of the vale, which appeared to show two sinking streams near Tisbury.  On Christmas Eve, 1974, after a lunchtime drink in the Compasses Inn (strongly recommended to anyone visiting the area) we inspected the sinks.  We found, not two but five Swildons size swallets, some of which were well developed.  Plans were immediately made to dig, but sadly have never come to life, since none of the S.C.G. live locally any more.

Later, on the same day, we discovered the first open cave entrance we had come across in the vale. We found this entrance in an old quarry just West of Tisbury.  Despite having no caving gear, and only one lamp between us, we explored the cave immediately.  We found about forty feet of passage involving several squeezes in a too tight rift. We named the cave 6X Cave – our high spirits at the time being due to that particular ale!  For the next nine months nothing of note was found in the area until, on the 17th September 1975 while walking on my own, I came across another open cave, again in an old quarry.  Returning with a friend next day, we followed a twenty foot crawl into a small rift chamber where we disturbed two bats, which struck us in their panic to leave the cave - hence the name Bat Hole.  No more open cave has been found since Bat Hole, but numerous swallets have been come across.  Their total number now exceeds fifteen.  All of these take a large flow of water through the winter though they tend to dry up in the summer.  Not one of them has been dug.  Anyone interested?


 

Some notes on Insurance

As many members know, the club's public liability insurance is due to run out in August, and much activity has been going on behind the scenes to determine what should be put in its place.  This article was going to try to layout the entire position so that members could see all the aspects involved.  However, it appears that more information is still coming in, and it is obviously no good to present members with a picture that could be out of date even before it gets read.

This article is thus going to try to put over the basic problems - and leave out any possible ways of solving them until there is enough definite information to be able to tackle this question properly.

Apart from the more obvious things, like providing tackle, club funds have to be used for a number of purposes, like paying rates on the Belfry and insuring the Belfry against fire etc.  One of these things which the club has used some of its funds for is providing insurance cover for its members via its public liability policy.

The purpose of this sort of policy is to protect club members from any possibility of financial loss as a result of some legal action in which damages might be awarded, for the payment of which a member or members of the club might find themselves liable.

The different sorts of claims which are possible get quite complicated, but basically, a club member could find himself or herself liable in one of two ways - either because of his or her membership of the club, or as an individual.

If we concentrate on members who might find themselves liable because of their membership of the club, then there are six categories attracting a high risk:-

1.                    Members who are financially well off.

2.                    Members of the committee.

3.                    Trustees of the Belfry.

4.                    The Tacklemaster, and any assistants.

5.                    Diggers.

6.                    Active cavers.

The main point to observe is that not all club members would bee equally likely to find themselves liable in fact for financial loss because of their membership of the club.  Thus, a well-off tacklemaster, who is therefore a member of the committee and who might also be a trustee of the Belfry and who caves and digs actively would have cause for concern if he thought that the club had inadequate cover.  On the other hand, a member who took no part in the running of the club, who had perhaps retired from active any caving or digging and who had nothing much in the way of assets or income would not have cause to worry.

As far as liability is concerned as a result of any individual activities, when membership of the club is not a deciding factor, then fairly obviously, the greater the caving and digging activity, the greater the risk -although there are other ways by which a member could become individually liable.  For example, lending another person some gear which caused an accident and which had been inadequately maintained by the owner might possibly lead to trouble under some circumstances.

The club's present policy covers all these, and other circumstances.  However, it is thought that it may not prove possible to obtain the same degree of cover that we at present enjoy (until August!) at anything like the same payment.  If this turns out to be true, then the effect of a much greater outlay on club finances must be taken into account.

One factor which the B.E.C. in particular has to contend with its relatively large proportion of life members.  If a policy in future is quoted at so much per member, then the members who pay an annual subscription would have to pay every year not only for themselves but for the life members as well.  Unless peoples attitudes towards the cost of annual subs alters drastically, any large addition to the annual sub to cope with increased cost of insurance will drive some members away.  This will mean fewer annual subs to support the life members and so, without any other change, the sub would have to go up once again.  This process could run away with itself, and we finish up with a club containing nothing but life members with no income from subs and no way of affording any sort of insurance at all.  Unfortunately, there is no way of telling in advance how many people will leave the club if the sub goes up by any particular amount.  All that we DO know is that when the B.E.C. and the Wessex raised their subs by the same amount, we lost a much great percentage of our membership than they did.

Thus, at this stage, when all the various ways by which the club could get insurance cover have not yet been fully worked out, we can probably write down some guidelines to be applied when all is known more fully

1.                  Any solution which involves drastically raising the annual subscription is not on.  For the same share of insurance premium, our members would have to pay more than the members of a comparable club who did not have life members to support.  This would drive younger members towards other, and cheaper, clubs and older members away altogether.  If this happened the situation might run away with itself.

2.                  The solution will have to be towards cheaper form of insurance, even if this means a less comprehensive form of cover.

3.                  Some means must be found for the protection of those members who might be exceptionally at risk, if the general cover is inadequate for them.

It is hoped to follow this with further notes when the position becomes more certain. In the meantime, anyone who can shed further light on this problem is most welcome to contribute.


 

Extracts from the Caving Log

General Caving

19-4-76 Ogof Hebog (Cave of the Hawk). Ian, Annie and Graham Wilton-Jones.  More thorough investigation of the site discovered over Whitsun 1974 at S.N. 752187, when a 15ft deep narrow rift was visible. Today, a large quantity of boulders was removed to reveal a cross rift, the main part being 15ft long, aligned ENE-WSW leading to a small chamber with a cobble floor.  This could repay further digging.  An intermittent stream enters above the chamber, sinking in the cobbles. A fox had made its home at the bottom and died there.    2 - 3 hours.        G. W-J

20-4-76 Hunters Hole. A.R.T. (Not S.R.T.) and self to Dear's Ideal, where the Mendip Chip, Bang and Chisel Co. applied ½lb boulder-baiter. Duly fired and out.  Missed pub at 11.45 p.m.  1½  hours. "Mr." N.

24-4-76 Singing River Mine. Rich Stevenson, Chris Batstone, Andy Sparrow, Sue Jordan, Jeff Price.  The object of this trip was to dive the sumped level at the bottom of the mine.  Rich dived into a small chamber with an airspace.  He then investigated small passage going for about 60ft. Total length of dive was 80ft.  1½ hours.        C.B.

1 -5-76 Manor Farm. Pete Eckford, Chris Batstone, Sue Jordan, Andy Sparrow, 'Quackers' and Sandra.  Trip to try and dive the sump at the bottom of N.H.A.S.A Gallery that most people think is a puddle.  After about half an hour of digging, baling and diving, Pete managed to pass the sump. He succeeded in reaching an air bell about three feet in.  The sump continues with dubious potential, and awaits either another dive or a mammoth baling session.  A good trip, though carrying bottles down Manor is NOT recommended.  4 hours. A.S.

15-5-76 Manor Farm. John Dukes, Andy Sparrow, Pete Moody, Alison Hopper and (eventually) Nigel Taylor.  Quickly down to the sump to try to bale our way into Manor Farm 11. An hour's energetic digging; baling and dam building broke the sump. 

After another half hour's work it became passable.  At this point, all the hard work being done, Nigel turned up.  Sparrow proceeded to crawl through the porridge-like mud of the sump and emerged into a bell chamber found on a previous trip.  From here, the way was by digging upwards for six feet into a tight tube going for fifteen feet.  Sparrow was attempting to pass the squeeze halfway along this to get into the large cross rift visible beyond when Dukes's grinning face appeared from the said rift.  The dig connects through an unnoticed opening in the wall of the twenty foot blind pot at the bottom of N.B.A.S.A. Gallery.  Such is life. 3½ hours.  A.S.

Walking/Climbing Log

28-12-75. Tony and Sue Tucker, John Dukes and Mutley.  From the Belfry across to Plantation Swallet where Walt-baiting took place.  Across the mineries up North Hill to Priddy TEN Barrows, where now resides the Wessex wheelbarrow, recently liberated.  Then down to Swildons where we met Chris Batstone and Barney as they emerged with the Belfry Avenue sign.  Finally, back to the Belfry.  A working trip.  A.T.


 

You Name It!

Derek Sanderson sends this account of some caving in Wales

DISCOVERY: Back in August 1 372, Roger Wing and I were exploring the caves of the Nant-y-Glais, a small valley near Merthyr Tidfil.  We spent several hours photographing in the somewhat arduous and wet Ogof Rhyd Sych (SO 041 102) and then had a quick probe into the sump entrance of Ogof Pysgodyn, a few yards down valley, before we began  to walk back down the rive bed towards the bridge.

The river was low, and the limestone slabs over which the water usually flows were mostly dry. After a time, Roger noticed a small cavity under the right hand bank behind a limestone block which we thought deserved a second look.  After shifting the block slightly, we were able to push a way through numerous cobwebs into a small cave passage.  The roof and floor were unscratched and a few largish stones had to be pushed aside before we could enter.  All the signs suggested that we were entering new cave.

DESCRIPTION: The passage beyond the entrance is narrow and low, with a scalloped floor and rough texture to the roof. Progress was by crawling and it was impossible to avoid scratching the rock.  There are a few ribs of calcite in the roof.

After about thirty feet of passage formed along the bedding joint, the cave turns at right angles to the left and develops into a miniature stream passage of about 3ft square, pleasantly scalloped in smoother grey rock.  A few drops in the floor level - a matter of inches rather than feet - and twenty feet on, the bedding development begins to re-assert itself as the passage lowers, widens and veers to the right.

Passing some flood debris, a few feet further on, and the passage become half blocked by rounded pebbles. Over the pebbles however is a six inch gap beyond which appears to be a low but wide open passage to the right taking a small stream.

In spite of the fact that this pebble choke appears to be very easy to push past, we turned back, as lights and time were running out.  We had covered about seventy feet of passage, and clearly there is more. We also paced the distance from the entrance to the bridge and found it to be 100 paces.

COMMENTS: Soon afterwards, we wrote to Geoff Bull of W.S.G. who had been doing work in the area and gave him a quick description.  His reply seemed to confirm our opinion that this small cave had not been entered before, though he did say that their local representative thought he knew of the site of the entrance.

The cave is not particularly impressive in size, but it could lead to bigger things.  Clearly, there is potential in the area for, not too far away up-valley, are the extensive passages of Ogof-y-Ci, as well as those caves previously mentioned - over 4,000 feet in all.  It may be however, that in normal conditions much of the cave is under water.  Perhaps others have visited the cave since 1972 (W.S.G.for instance) and passed the Pebble Choke.  If so, how about letting the B.B. know about it?

Roger, with such command of the Welsh language, suggested we called the cave Ogor Sodof, but this seemed a bit unkind.  Neither did it reflect the short bit of fun we had grovelling in it - so we decided to leave the naming of it to those who follow and enter the miles of passage which, we are sure, must lie beyond.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 66

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

7

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

10

 

 

 

11

 

12

 

 

13

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

15

 

 

 

 

16

 

 

 

17

 

18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

1. Strata like this are not necessarily sub-standard. (7)
6. Cuthbert’s eater reorganised. (5)
8. Additionally short drink. (3)
9. It follows present times driven underground. (4)
11. Trap. (4)
13. Caver’s food in no showy form. (4)
14. Proverbially slippery. (4)
16. Mendip hole loudly that is around. (5)
17. Bits of gear to be checked at odd times. (5)
19. Supporting timber found in Trat’s Temple. (7)

Down

2. Descend on 15, for example. (3)
3. 15 down has to be this of course. (4)
4. ‘The same again’ includes teetotaller. (5)
5. Set chip for drops. (7)
6. Lies backward in tars and descend rope. (7).
7. Safeguards, harnesses or measures underground. (4)
10. This month, in short. (4)
12. Trips which sound as if they could be 13. (5)
15. Fifty one and two directions useful underground. (4)
18. In short, some sixth sense perhaps. (1,1,1)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

 

O

C

T

O

P

U

S

 

U

P

 

 

 

I

 

O

P

N

 

 

S

 

R

 

 

R

E

A

C

H

W

A

Y

 

U

A

 

 

A

 

T

 

 

S

R

 

S

T

R

E

A

M

S

T

 

 

T

 

S

 

 

I

H

O

 

E

 

 

 

O

K

 

E

R

R

A

T

I

C

 


 

Club Headquarters

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

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

Members           Chris Batstone, John Dukes, Chris Howell, Tim Large, Mike Wheadon, Barry Wilton.

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         THIS POST IS NOW IN ABEYANCE.

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

Spares                          T. LARGE,  Address already given

Membership Sec.           Mrs. A. DOOLEY, c/o The Belfry.  TO WHOM ALL SUBS SHOULD BE SENT.

 

All contribution to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, are not necessarily the opinions of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless explicitly stated as being such.

 

QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

What Mendip Thinks Today….

The fact-finding commission of the N.C.A. have visited Mendip as part of their work in trying to find out what ordinary cavers think about N.C.A.  We hear that they went out of their way to make sure that they contacted as many and as great a range of cavers as they could, visiting places like Goatchurch, where they might expect to find non-club cavers.

From all accounts, they found their average Mendip caver far better informed than were cavers from other parts of the country.  More to the point, they found that the views of those they spoke to were remarkably uniform and very much in line with the views as expressed in the Southern Council.

Perhaps the theory that those who have taken up strong and definite positions on the subject at the Southern Council are just a collection of crackpots, trying to push their way out ideas may now be revised. Perhaps, the views of Mendip cavers may even be listened to!

Unresolved Problem

The letter from Graham, printed in this B.B., raises to my mind some very fundamental questions. The whole structure of regional councils, and hence N.C.A., was originally brought into being because of the difficulties experienced by some Northern clubs in dealing with the landowners of some of the Yorkshire fells over questions of access to the potholes. It now seems that the C.N.C.C. has been faced with a situation in which some cavers are jeopardising the arrangements they have reached with the landowners, but have not been able to resolve the matter.

The existence of a political structure in caving has caused many problems and has made some of us spend much time that could have been put to better use, so that we can make as sure as we can that the structure remains our servant and does not become our master. In spite of having to spend time in this way, many of us have come round to the idea that the councils are worth having, if only to enable caving to defend itself against pressures from the outside.  This conclusion is one which has, in some cases, only been reluctantly agreed and there is a danger that if councils show themselves unable to deal with the very matters for which they were formed originally, then more and more people will wonder whether the whole idea is worth the time and effort spend on it. We must hope that the matters reported by Graham will, in fact, be sorted out.

Who Wrote What

Figures for the 1975 B.B. (Vol 29) are now available.  The volume comprised 236 pages - a drop of 20 pages on the 1974 B.B.  The contribution of authors was down by 5½ pages to 143½ pages, but the percentage written by authors was up by 3% to 61% of the total.

Even fewer people wrote half the total authors contribution in 1975.  'Wig,’ Mike Wheadon and Malcolm Jarrett wrote half the 143½ pages between them. In 1974 it took four authors to do this. They were 'Wig' (still top) Andy Nichols (now 12th) Bob Cross (now 22nd) and Graham Wilton-Jones (still 4th). Incidentally, the Wilton-Jones family taken as a whole came third this year with 14½ pages between them.

If anyone is interest in a 'Top Ten', they were, for 1975: - First, 'Wig'; Second, Mike Wheadon; Third, Malcolm Jarrett; Fourth, Graham Wilton-Jones; Fifth, Colin Priddle; Sixth, Derek Sanderson, Tim Reynolds, Chris Howell and Janet Setterington; Tenth, Andy Sparrow.

“Alfie”

Gordon Tilly

In memory of Gordon, it has been suggested that an appeal for donations be launched for the Society for the Physically Handicapped.  Please send any donation to 'Wig'


 

Ireland 1975

This article is described by its author - Ian Calder is 'A rather belated account of a trip last summer.' - Better belated than never!

A group of us from South Wales decided to see what some of the Irish caves were like, so one Saturday in August we set out for that centre of the West - Fishguard.

After a rough crossing to Rosslaire and the inevitable two hours delay, we set off again for County Clare in the early evening.  A Morris 1000 with three adults, two children and gear for a week is no place for spending four and a half hours on bumpy Irish roads, definitely a journey to forget. Anyway, we arrived at Lisdoonvarna at midnight to find the place heaving with people.  It was, of course, chucking out time, as we were soon to learn.  We had been told of a campsite at Fanore, and so made our way over dirt tracks, ending up at the site an hour and a half later having been given 'directions' by a helpful native who was holding up a pub along the way!

The next day - or was it the same day? - having been woken at around nine o’clock owing to small children, the five of us eventually took off to look at the Doolin River Cave.  We rigged the Fisherstreet Pot and went down St. Catherine's I and after a smallish entrance series which seemed to enlarge very uniformly, we found the main system of magnificent canyon passage and fine formations.  What a joy to see untouched and un-taped stal.  Having crossed under the Aille River, we found the Fisherstreet Pot, had a look towards the sump nearly under the beach, and managed to arrive at O'Connor's at Doolin for a 5.30 p.m. Sunday Guinness.  It certainly lives up to its reputation and we took good advantage of the licensing hours.

The next day, we had an excellent through trip Pollnua-Polnagollum-Poulelva.  We abseiled into Polnagollum Pot off a rather doubtful chock, only to discover it was much easier to climb out, go round, and then descend without any tackle being necessary.  At least we never left the cave, although we did manage to find a way to the 90 foot, pitch of Poulelva and exit there, having rigged it before hand.  Back to the site for a swim and some food.  The beach here is very good and the surf was exhilarating at least while we were there.  The fact that the caves were there as well was almost an added bonus.

We even struggled off to a cave the day after, although the Guinness was beginning to get through by now, and had a look at the Coolagh River Cave.  We didn't get very far inside owing to the fact that there seemed to be too much crawling for our physical condition.  We had also been warned that this cave was liable to rapid and severe flooding and so our natural idleness and cowardice took us off to the nearest pub to restore our spirits.  We did walk a little over the 'burren' - a wild and desolate area of bare limestone, but saw nothing which even remotely resembled a cave. Sickening!

My last excursion underground was into Collaun 5, and I can certainly recommend this cave to anyone. It is possible to do an exchange trip if you can find the right entrances.  Our maps, being some sixty years out of date, weren't very helpful. The main entrance (5) is by the road and easy.  A couple of us tried to find 5d and only after an hour and a half of hunting did we stumble upon it.  For anybody who wants to look for this entrance I can only say that it is by a fence and very close to the edge of the NOW forest.  We joined up inside the cave and decided to bottom it.  This was well worth the effort.  There are some magnificently decorated ox-bows and the end is quite large, although it closes down to very unstable-looking boulder choke.

We returned via opposite routes and I am glad to say that the others had almost as much difficulty in picking up the road once they were out of 5d than we had going the other way.

Others went to see the stal in Pol an Ionian, whilst I baby-sat, but that pretty well sums up the active side of our Ireland visit.  Thanks to 'Wig' for his information and helpful hints beforehand!

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

PLEASE SEND SUBSCRIPTIONS TO A. DOOLEY, 51 OSMASTON ROAD, HARBOURNE, BIRMINGHAM 17.  MAKE CHEQUES, POSTAL ORDERS ETC. OUT TO ‘The Bristol Exploration Club’ and remember please that the current rate is £2.50 for single membership and £3.50 for joint membership.  Please also let Angie Dooley or Brenda Wilton know of any change of address and a big ‘thank you’ to all those who thoughtfully enclose a stamped envelope with their fees!



Letters

We have three letters of some importance this month.

The first letter is the one which has already been mentioned in the editorial from Graham Wilton-Jones.

Dear Alfie,

On Saturday, February 7th, a special meeting of all member clubs of C.N.C.C. was held at Ingleton. The meeting was advertised with the sensationalist headline POTHOLING BANNED ON NORTHERN FELLS.  It was held because several events have occurred recently which could have serious consequences upon caving in Yorkshire. Specifically, they are:-

a.                  The landowner of LECK FELL is making things difficult for cavers.

b.                  There have been two rescues from BIRKS FELL CAVE.  Both parties were 'pirating' access and both were in the close season.

c.                  There has been a great deal of pirating on PENYGHENT.  The landowner has recently died, and therefore it is at present very difficult to negotiate a new access agreement.

Thirty three clubs were represented at the meeting.  This was utter chaos.  Club representatives were asked if their committees could guarantee or prevent their member from pirating access agreement.  Only nineteen said that they could.  Of the fourteen who said that they could no, or would not, one representative - a diver from Preston C.C. - admitted to being the ‘phantom diver’ who had pirated several dives in the north, and assured the meeting that he would continue his present practice of disregarding all access agreements. Another representative, also a member of C.R.O., backed up his view.  Uproar naturally ensued.  After three hours, the meeting was ended, nothing having been achieved.

In the view of some of us Southerners, we face a number of possibilities:-

a.                  Cavers will continue to pirate access on an increasing scale until landowners, fed up with all this, will begin to block entrances almost irretrievably.  This has been done before.

b.                  Landowners will find it necessary to gate caves - a difficult and expensive process, almost impossible in many cases - and certain cavers have assured the C.N.C.C. that they will use bang to destroy such gates.  This would lead to ALL cavers bang licences being withdrawn - a simple matter for the authorities concerned.

c.                  Landowners will prosecute trespassers and the fells.

d.                  Landowners will finally realize that money is to be made out of cavers.

This last is the most likely, for certain cavers are NOT prepared to sit around waiting for committees to sort out impossible access agreements.  They are already impossible in that cavers are not able to ensure that all other cavers will comply with the access regulations.  Cavers basically want to cave and, whether they think so or not, they are prepared to pay to do so.

For myself, it costs me at least £5 travelling for a Mendip weekend; £8 for South Wales and at least £10 for Yorkshire.  Other cavers must be in a similar position over travelling costs.  My caving gear is worth about £115 plus a further £125 for rope. These amounts are not unusual.  At these prices, I see no reason against paying, say, £1 per head for a caving trip in Yorkshire.

What will happen if landlords realise that caves are a source of income?  Someone only has to offer money on one occasion, and the avalanche has started - soon to spread throughout the fells.  I, for one, would consider myself far better off under these circumstances as a caver.  No longer the bother of booking up weeks or months in advance:  We’re almost back to the days when a friendly word at a farmhouse door is all that is required - plus a few of those green things and spontaneous caving is back, just as it still exists on Mendip.

Our club is affiliated to C.N.C.C. and although we have no voting rights, we are clearly deeply involved in such matters as this.  Other people within the club must have their own views.  Let’s hear them.

Graham

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

The next letter is from Tim Large, the Caving Secretary, who has comments to make about the N.C.A. Equipment Committee.  He writes as follows:-

Dear Alfie,

I would like to add my comments to those already published in recent B.B.’s concerning the N.C.A. Equipment committee.

Like Dave, I too am concerned about the ideas of such a committee for much the same reasons, but would now like to look at the question from a caver’s point of view.

On the whole, the available equipment (be it ropes, krabs, descendeurs etc.) is of a very good standard. The manufacturers are well aware of the reliance placed on their products and have long experience in dealing with climbing and caving requirements.  In this respect, the committee has its purpose, as I see it, in passing on cavers needs to the manufacturers and to publicise any information regarding faulty items that do get on to the retail market.

It seems to me that the N. C.A. equipment committee was primarily instigated with the advent of S.R.T. and its ever increasing popularity.  O.K.  So, like everything else, there are teething problems with these new techniques (as there were with electron ladders initially) but these were overcome.

Now I know you are going to say "Yes, but there has been this accident or that, so we must needs improve our tackle."  Well, go ahead!  Caving is a pastime which attracts independent minds and inventive skills – so modify your equipment yourself!

The main fault, and I would suggest reason, for recent accidents (particularly with regard to S.R.T.) are the bad techniques employed when using tackle.  Ropes are not meant to be rubbed against sharp limestone with a hundred and fifty pounds swinging on the end.  They should be belayed in such a position that they hang free or should be protected in some way if this is not possible.  A classic example of this problem is the present belaying points in Rhino Rift.  It would not surprise me to hear of a rope breaking down there, through what can only amount to misuse.  In Rhino's case it may prove difficult to provide free-hanging belay points, but not impossible for those who value their life!

Think back, over past caving trips, to all those small incidents that could have proved disastrous - screw gate not done up, hence the krab opens up when passed against the rock. Knots not tied correctly. Rawlbolts not fitted correctly. Whistle signals not known by all members of the party, hence lifelines go slack and someone peels.  The list could go on.  It all points to incompetence or misuse in the handling of tackle and NOT to actual tackle failures.  It may take more time to do things properly, but surely this is half the pleasure to be able to overcome an obstacle as safely as possible.  I know there are those amongst us who like to gallop around caves at high speed - which is very enjoyable providing that you are competent to do so, both with regard to your own safety and the preservation of the cave.

S.R.T. has become the 'in' thing because, so many would have us believe, it saves time and means less tackle to carry - assuming you live to carry it out!  If done safely, within the limitations of the ropes available, S.R.T. can still be a useful method in certain circumstances.  Of course, it would be very nice to have a hard wearing, high tensile strength, low stretch, anti-spin rope for S. R. T. and, given time, I am sure the manufacturers could produce something - but at a price!  I suggest that the price would be so high as to make it commercially impracticable to develop.  Whereas, by the use of currently available ropes and by treating them respectfully with good rope techniques and by discarding such ropes at regular intervals, the current ropes would prove satisfactory, as I have no doubt many people have found out.

So, once more I say that the value of an Equipment Committee is very limited and, certainly as far as I am concerned, would NOT include providing testing facilities for any equipment. This committee, and the N.C.A. as a whole, do what cavers want, and would do well to remember that those elected to the various committees are merely acting as the cavers' mouthpiece - to be given teeth only when we, the active cavers, desire it.  Long live the true spirit of independent caving.

Yours very sincerely,
Tim Large.

Editor's Note:     I would go even further, and suggest that if the intention is merely to inform manufacturers of the needs of cavers, or to inform cavers of the products of manufacturers, it hardly needs a committee, since the job can easily be handled by one man.  On the other hand, the publicising of faulty products is something which has to be approached very warily indeed, since it has to be proved that the product was being used at all times within the limitations laid down by the manufacturer and was not subject to any form of abuse.  The remainder of Tim's letter shows how difficult this might be to prove.

Another danger implied by Tim is that some form of 'official' approval by an N.C.A. committee might give the impression that there was no need for the normal care of equipment once it had been approved.  One final point - the whistle code Tim mentions is S.U.D. in case any caver feels too proud to ask.  One blast for STOP, two for UP and three for DOWN.

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

Now, a member's views on another controversial subject that of school caving and affiliation of such bodies to caving clubs.

Dear Alfie,

Re school caving groups becoming affiliated to the B.E.C.  Here are one or two thoughts I would like to raise:-

  1. I voted with the rest at the A.G.M. against any certification in the caving world - but if no alternative is offered, and offered quickly, Local Education Authorities will force the certification issue.
  2. Any vetting scheme of teachers as to their competence (whether this is done by B.A.C.I. or by C.S.C.C.) is tantamount to a certificate.  Do we really want to see caver assessing caver?  Isn't this an invidious situation?
  3. We all basically deplore non-cavers or idiots (not the same thing, surely!) having anything to do with novice caving trips whether from school or not.
  4. Whether people agree with caving from schools or not, it is happening and is probably on the increase  again, whether we like it or not.
  5. Have we any more right to discourage schools rather than geologists or employees of Bristol Waterworks?  Do we really want the right to forbid to anyone what we ourselves enjoy?  Who is to judge whether schools spoil caves or whether cavers do.  The muddy Land marks on the stal in the Great Chamber in G.B. were surely not put there by novice school parties - led or un-led.
  6. We have a chance of allowing schools to become affiliated to the B.E.C. and thus a chance to influence this group of cave users.  Note, to influence them - not to pass judgment on them.  To pass on informed opinion and creative ideas.  If we let this chance go by, we may never again be able to influence this group in the same way.  If this happens, don't bellyache in five years time when we all have to have a certificate.

Yours,
Ian Calder.

Ian's letter deserves a fairly lengthy comment, because it raises a number of points about which some members are known to feel strongly, but which I suspect they may not be informed of the present situation.  Taking Ian's letter paragraph by paragraph:-

  1. It is true that the club voted in no uncertain terms against any form of certification.  Most other clubs on Mendip feel the same way, as does the Southern Council in consequence.  In order to PREVENT the spread of certification, the Southern Council published its own booklet called CAVING FOR BEGINNERS in which it made it quite clear that caving was not a competitive sport and that all forms of certification were unnecessary.  Instead, it suggested in informal scheme for keeping an eye on novices such as schoolboys.  Thus, an alternative WAS offered quite some time ago.
  2. However, Somerset Local Education Authority (L.E.A.) could not accept this.  The reason is that they must have some sort of competence standard.  This means, as Ian puts it, caver assessing caver.  Thus, the ONLY choice open to Mendip clubs, through the Southern Council, is either to find a compromise acceptable to the Somerset L.E.A. and to the caving clubs or to wash their hands of the whole affair.  If this latter is done, then Somerset will go it alone and produce a scheme which has nothing at all to do with local clubs.  NOTHING AT ALL.  Thus, we will have no opportunity to influence, to moderate extreme ideas, to apply our experience.
  3. This being so, the Southern Council have been negotiating with Somerset L.E.A. and have now reached the stage of having a compromise solution, which will be put to the next Southern Council meeting.  One of the points is that any leader shall be a caver first and a school leader second.  This answers Ian's 3rd paragraph.
  4. What has been said so far shows that Ian is right his assessment here.
  5. With the greatest respect to Ian, I think he has missed the point here.  I don't think that anyone wants the right to forbid people going caving.  What we should be trying to do is to convince schools and other bodies that it is one thing to make caving trips available for those who are genuinely interested and quite another thing to pressurise people into caving.  As Ian says, damage to caves will occur in any case and the more people involved, the greater the damage.  Therefore, we only ought to have the people who really WANT to go down caves and not those who have been talked into it.  This is one direction where we must try to use our influence
  6. Firmly written into the proposed agreement with the Somerset L.E.A. is the participation of local caving clubs.  Indeed, the wording has now been so arranged that the B.E.C. no longer have to make the decision as to whether to permit formal affiliation, or not.  As for the spread of certification, it may well be that when their blokes and our blokes have got to know each other enough it may even be possible to persuade the L.E.A. to come even more into line with what the caving clubs would like to see and to progress towards the ideals of CAVING FOR BEGINNERS.

I hope that these remarks may go some way towards putt' Ian's and other members minds at rest on this subject.  Any further correspondence will, of course, be welcome.


 

Belfry Jobs

A list sent in by the Belfry Engineer, who hopes that members will take the hint!

If you are not sure what needs doing, after reading this list of jobs, please see either the Hut Warden or the Belfry Engineer.  You will probably need to bring your own tools, and if materials are needed, get them yourself and give us the bill.  If you do not feel like doing any of the jobs yourself, come along to a working weekend with tools (if you have any) and the Hut Warden or Engineer will show you what needs doing - or write in for information.

1.                  Scrub down walls and ceilings to remove grease etc.

2.                  Plaster wall by front door.

3.                  Cold water supply to Women’s Room needs connecting up in the attic.

4.                  Tidy up attic and re-lay insulation (see Hut Warden for key of the attic.)

5.                  Installation of two airbricks or similar ventilating bricks between library and Men’s Room and between library and main room.

6.                  Scrubbing down paintwork on lockers

7.                  Fixing bunks in Women’s Room securely to the walls.

8.                  Levelling floor in main shower room.

9.                  Washing floor in main room.

10.              Building a wall across the car park from the manhole cover by the front door to the drinking pond.  The foundations for this wall are already in position.

11.              Levelling the ground and tidying up outside generally.

12.              A drystone wall needs building at the end of the car park adjacent to the drinking pond to retain hardcore. Use existing half blocks from rubble pile which has been levelled.

Plus, of course, anything else which looks as if it ought to be done - only please check first before you do it in case your ideas clash with any plans the Hut Warden or the Hut Engineer may have.  The committee recently agreed to spend some money on making the Belfry a better place to stay at - but your help is needed so that we can spend our money sensibly and get value for it.


 

New finds in Valley Entrance

A TRIP TO THE NEW EXTENSION (RECENTLY DISCOVERED BY CAVING INSTRUCTORS FROM WHERNSIDE MANOR)

From the 'terminal' chamber of Cascade Inlet, as described in 'Northern Caves' (Whernside & Tragareth), two notable extensions have recently been discovered.  One of these, a continuation of the thirty foot climb to an inlet on the right hand side of the chamber, is adequately described in 'Descent' No 32.

The other starts off as a muddy and somewhat unstable route through the boulder choke from which the Main Water emerges.  After a short squeeze up through boulders to the right of the stream entry, one enters a small mucky cavern sloping steeply upwards and consisting partly of loose boulders.  Care is needed here, as anything dislodged will funnel straight down into the squeeze. A further climb up through boulders at the top left hand side of this chamber leads to a similar cavern with a mud and boulder strewn floor.  From here, the way on is forward and to the right, dropping down between the boulders into an impressive flat roofed tunnel which continues for a disappointingly short distance before becoming too low.  Tributary streams enter it from impenetrable fissures to the left and right.

The only exit from this tunnel is an obvious inlet on the right at the start of the larger passage. A thrutch over a rocking boulder marks the beginning of this fine meandering stream trench, which is about four feet high and has some large blocks at intervals which create some interesting crawls at roof level.  Finally, in a small sandy chamber, the roof dips sharply to tight bedding with two miniature rock arches creating an interesting tight duck for about three feet. Beyond this, a short tube followed by a squeeze leads to a high passage at right angles.  This continues under a high chamber with a washed out shale band containing many fine straws.  It then swings to the left and for a very short distance resumes the proportions of the earlier stream trench.

Here, the way forks. To the left, one enters an area of bedding and boulder chaos, the threshold of which is blocked by a magnificent static pool of crystal-clear water.  Reflected in this is a delightful array of straws.  No doubt, this will not be allowed to remain like it is for long.

The right fork of the passage is the main route consists of a rift, sloping steeply upwards through mud and over boulder obstacles until, after levelling out for a short way, the passage abruptly chokes.  At this point the stream is once again encountered, trickling down through pools in a high rift which joins the passage at right angles.  Traversing at different levels becomes increasingly difficult as the slippery walls of the rift begin to close in.  Eventually, it becomes too tight.

It would appear that this passage ends in a region somewhere near Thorny Pot and, apart from adding on a sizeable chunk to the already varied and extensive West Kingsdale system, it will be an inviting prospect for further exploration, with the possibility of pushing a route through to a top entrance, thus creating yet another through trip in the system.

Dave Metcalfe.


 

Secretarial

Some items of news from the Sec.

Although the committee has been progressing the event since last October, the time is rapidly approaching when we must come to a decision about this year’s dinner and therefore I feel that we should test the membership response via the columns of the B.B.

Following last year’s dinner came two complaints mainly, objections to the venue and objection as to the menu.  To try to overcome these objections, the club approached many restaurant organisations to get their, response to putting on a reasonable dinner for the 200 or so of us at a reasonable price.  We have had NO offers to date.

In addition to the complaints of venue, there has been a suggestion from some members that we emulate more our roar northerly cousins and include a 'stomp' or disco with dinner. Yet a further suggestion is that we hold a buffet dinner coupled with a dance.  My assessment, after talking to a few members is that none of these would be popular, but your views would be appreciated.

The situation at present is as follows: - We cannot have the next dinner at the Blue School as it is fully booked for October and has now become very expensive.  We have therefore, in the absence of response from any other caterer, asked Arthur Laws to research possible locations for the next dinner and submit menus and costs.  Two possible locations are Glastonbury Town Hall and the new centre at Shepton Mallet.

We are hoping that the next dinner will be up to our normally high standards and will include the traditional entertainment, which was clearly missed last year.  So if you have any thoughts, please let the committee know.

Whether or not we are losing members at a similar rate to our acceptance of newcomers, I cannot say but we have over the past couple of months managed to trap one errant back into the fold and recruited several new bods:

New members are:

Alistair Simpson: 30 Channel Heights, Bleadon Hill, Weston S.M.
David Lampard: Woodpeckers, 11 Springfield Pk Rd, Horsham, Sussex
Steven Woolven: 21 Three Acres, Horsham, Sussex.
Ken Roebuck: c/o P.O.'s Mess, H.M.S. Daedalus, Lee on Solent, Hants.
Nick Thorne: 20 Hawkers Lane, Wells, Somerset.
Peter Shearman: Wood View, Grayfield, High Littleton, Bath.
Jim Andrews: 43 Portway, Wells, Somerset
Graham Nye: 7 Ramsey Close, Horsham, Sussex.
Andrew Higginbottom: Warana, Hill Lea Gardens, Cheddar.

Barrie Wilton would like to advise that this is your last chance to own a B.E.C. car badge at the £1.75 price.  If you don't get your bid in quickly, you’ll have to pay more or the same item in future.

John Dukes's next working weekend is planned for the 8/9 of May, so roll up and help make the Belfry better.

'Sett' is once again organising a weekend for older club members to meet each other.  This year it will be from Friday, 11th June to Sunday 13th June.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 65

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

12

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

6. Suitable place for post in G.B. (6,3)
7. See 1 across and 12 down. (6)
10. Large number of high cave passages form typical mine working! (6)
13. Lion ate me – erratically, one imagines! (9)

Down

1. and 7. Well known Mendip underground place. (3,6)
2. Starting point for worrying, if not met. (1,1,1)
3. Ore train found on certain edge perhaps. (9)
4. Die down perhaps with Bertie in the middle. (5)
5. Passage type found in G.B., Swildons, Stoke. (2-3)
8. Optimum state of affairs found after affectionate plural in Hunters. (5).
9.  Make of 10 across sounds young. (5)
11. 9 down and cavers both do this. (3)
12. and 7.  Contrasting place to 1 and 7 in same cave. (3)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

 

O

C

T

O

P

U

S

 

U

P

 

 

 

I

 

O

P

N

 

 

S

 

R

 

 

R

E

A

C

H

W

A

Y

 

U

A

 

 

A

 

T

 

 

S

R

 

S

T

R

E

A

M

S

T

 

 

T

 

S

 

 

I

H

O

 

E

 

 

 

O

K

 

E

R

R

A

T

I

C

 


 

Club Headquarters

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

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

Members           Chris Batstone, John Dukes, Chris Howell, Tim Large, Mike Wheadon, Barry Wilton.

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         THIS POST IS NOW IN ABEYANCE.

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

Spares                          T. LARGE,  Address already given

Membership Sec.           Mrs. A. DOOLEY, c/o The Belfry.  TO WHOM ALL SUBS SHOULD BE SENT.

 

All contribution to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, are not necessarily the opinions of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless explicitly stated as being such.

 

QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

This B.B. was never issued as the printing machine broke down.

The committee acted promptly and agreed to finance a service for the machine.  This proved to be impractical owing to its age, so Tony Corrigan volunteered to print the June B.B. on his own machine before he got married and disappeared on his honeymoon.

Unfortunately, Tony's machine works well enough with the metal plates he uses but not with the paper plates used by the B.B. for cheapness.  We finished up with a half printed B.B. and a wrecked master.  The fault on the B.B. machine was still there, even after some of the suspect parts had been dismantled.

So the machine had to come even further apart, and some special tools had to be designed and made to do this.  Dave Irwin offered the Gestetner for the July B.B., but there were no skins available and it was anybody’s guess as to whether it would be quicker to do this and clean up the typewriter afterwards, or to press on with getting the B.B. machine back in working order.  The last course was chosen, and at the time of writing this, the machine looks as if it will work.  It was been decided to get the July B.B. out first - because it was vital to let members know about the dinner etc. and to put this B.B. out when possible.

In the days of these B.B.’s, everything had to be type out onto stencils (masters) which were then used to do the printing.  But as these had been wrecked, the editor of the day never had the time to re-type the June B.B.