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Emergency Issue

This B.B. is not only smaller than usual, but has many of the regular features missing.  It mostly contains news about the Dinner and A.G.M. together with the minutes of the 1975 A.G.M.  The editor would like to apologise to all those who have sent in contributions and to assure them that that their material will be included in the B.B. as soon as possible.


Members must be concerned by the lack of B.B’s reaching them.  Several people who have asked me what is happening must be under the impression that the B.B. was still

Just as it looked like getting back to normal in June, after a period in which the B.B. could not be published monthly because of insufficient contributions, the B.B., printing machine broke down.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 helped me to dismantle some of the suspect parts, and 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.

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 has been decided to get this B.B. out first - because it is vital to let members know about the dinner etc. and to put the June B.B. out when possible.

After that, we shall have to see what happens next.  If there is not time to print the B.B. report before the A.G.M., please come along and be prepared to take part in a hard-hitting discussion about the future of the B.B.


Minutes of 1975 A.G.M.

The meeting opened at 10.55 a.m. with 36 members present.  ‘Sett’ called for the election of a chairman.  He was proposed and seconded from the floor of the meeting, and there being no other nominations, he was declared to have been elected. The chairman then called for member’s resolutions, and then asked whether the meeting wanted to take the minutes, which had been previously published, as read.  This was agreed.  The chairman then asked for any matters arising from the minutes.  Barrie said that as far as he was concerned, his action from last year had been carried out.

The Hon. Sec's report then followed.  Dave Irwin read the first part of this, covering the time from the last A.G.M. until his resignation, and Mike Wheadon continued the report from then on.  Colin Dooley asked if there had been many new applications for membership.  Mike said that there were not, but he would keep the club informed of all new members and would instigate a drive aimed at lapsed members.  Dave Turner asked how the membership compared with last ¬year. Mike said that it stood at 165 paid up members, which was down on last year.  Nigel Taylor then proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Annie Wilton-Jones and carried without dissent.

The Hon. Treasurer’s Report was then taken.  This had been published and Barrie added that it was more detailed this year.  Bob Cross asked for details of the donation and Barrie replied that it was made up of a number of small sums.  Bob Cross asked whether we had contributed to the M.R.O. and Barrie said that we had indirectly contributed about £10.  Dave Irwin said that the club’s position was very healthy because we had absorbed the cost of the Belfry alterations and still made an effective profit.  Barrie agreed with this and said the deficit of £56 was really a credit of about £100. Sett asked if the report would be in this form in future and Barrie assured him that it would.  Dave Irwin asked if B.B. sales were included as there were at least three subscribers to the B.B.  Barrie said that they would have been included, but all three had not renewed their subs.  Bob Cross asked what the £13.78 had bought for the library and Dave Irwin said that most of this sum had been spent on completing sets of journals.  The remainder had been spent on a few guidebooks. Mike Palmer asked whether the repay¬ment of the I.D.M.F. grant meant.  Barrie said that £90 had been taken out of club funds because there had not been enough time to withdraw it direct.  Annie Wilton-Jones asked why we had had a tax refund when it appeared that we had paid no tax.  Barrie said that this was because of the way that the tax authorities worked.  Nigel Taylor asked why we had been charged for two years rates.  Barrie said that the rate demands always had to be sent back for deduction and because of this we sometimes found ourselves paying rates so much in arrears that two years rates were often settled in the same year.  Mike Palmer asked about dustbins.  Barrie said that we would pay for these if we had to.  A discuss¬ion on the payment of subs then followed.  The meeting felt generally that members should not wait until the club was forced to send out reminders.  Dave Turner asked if we should consider a rebate for prompt payment.  This was received with mixed feelings and the meeting felt unable to commit itself. Joan Bennett said that it was a very good sign to see that the club had spent £108 on tackle.  Martin Bishop the proposed that the report be adopted. This was seconded by Mike Palmer and carried without dissent.

The chairman then read out the Hon. Auditor’s Report.  Its adoption was propped by Tony Meaden and seconded by Mike Palmer.  It was carried unanimously.

The Caving Secretary’s report had been published in the B.B.  Chris Howell proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Nigel Taylor and carried unanimously.

The Climbing Secretary’s Report was then read by Tony Sharpe. Graham Wilton-Jones suggested that the club did not know how much climbing tackle it possessed.  It was suggested that the Hon. Treasurer knew. It was agreed that climbing ropes must be kept separate from caving tackle and not stored in the Tackle Store.  Bob Cross said that there had been no mention of his trip to the Lakes.  Nigel Taylor then proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Mike Palmer and carried nem. con.

The Hut Warden's Report was then read by Colin Dooley who mentioned the alterations to the Belfry and said that the bed-night total was about the same as last year (1,200).  We had, he said, been lucky to have had the naval cavers the Belfry who contributed towards the bed-night figures and without whom the Belfry usage would have been much lower.  With the costs of fuel and other things rising, we will have to watch the expenditure.  In fact, the Belfry fees were put up halfway through the year and there was at present no need for further revision.  The Hut Warden then went on to thank Chris Batstone for his help and hoped that members would co-operate the new Hut Warden Ian.  Wilton-Jones opened the discussion by saying that the Craven provided no cutlery or crockery and suggested that these items should be withdrawn from the Belfry.  This was received with mixed feelings and was not put to the vote.  John Knapps said that there were no tea towels at the Belfry. Nigel Taylor showed him some. Colin raised the question of Belfry security.  A general discussion followed during which the new Hut Warden was informed that he was empowered to remove any non-member from staying at the Belfry without permission. It was agreed that any local members should look in whenever possible during the week.  The discussion continued for some time until it was finally left to the committee to deal with.  Martin Bishop asked whether the Belfry would have been worse off than last year without the £140 from the navy.  Barrie Wilton said that it would have been.  This led to a discussion about plans to house the navy elsewhere. It was agreed that if further competition was allowed to occur, then the Belfry would find itself in a very serious position.  It was agreed that the committee actively pursue this to all within its power to prevent such a situation occurring.  At this stage, the chairman called a halt to the discussion as he proposed to adjourn the meeting for lunch.  Chris Howell then proposed the adoption of the report and this was seconded Nigel Taylor and carried without dissent.

During the lunch break, in accordance with the proceedings started last year, the new committee met to decide on the named officers of the club as required by the constitution.

At 1.30, the chairman reconvened the meeting and announced the new officers as follows: - Chairman, Alfie: Hon. Sec, Mike Wheadon: Hon. Treas, Barrie Wilton: Caving Sec, Tim Large: Climbing Sec, Roy Marshall: Tacklemaster, Graham Wilton-Jones: Hut Warden, Chris Batstone: Hut Eng, John Dukes.

The Belfry Engineer’s Report followed.  Tony Tucker said that he did not approve of the changes made.  The chairman ruled this out of order and said that discussion must be confined to specific points and not generalised statements such as this. Tony then asked why the plans drawn up by Jock had not been followed.  John Dukes said these plans had been outside the price range and added that Tony had been given the opportunity to see the plans.  Nigel Taylor said that he would like to compliment the Hut Engineer.  Colin Dooley assured the meeting that all practical alternatives were examined before deciding on the present scheme.  Tony said that the toilets were very dark.  John Dukes said that they admitted sufficient light for their purpose. Mike Palmer felt that there were more important issues than toilets and that the plans represented the best compromise between the issues involved.  He said that the Hut Engineer was to be congratulated.  Annie Wilton said that the heating bill was less than before.  After more discussion, Colin Dooley proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Martin Bishop and carried without dissent.

The Tacklemaster was then invited to present his report.  Bob Cross opened the discussion by pointing out that a karabiner would not go through an Enfield clip and asked if the Tacklemaster intended to go over to these for all tackle.  Graham said that it was not his intention to do this.  The chairman asked if special rope was required for S.R.T. and was told that this was so.  He asked if the Tacklemaster could recommend suitable ropes to members if asked and Graham said he could do this.  It was stressed yet again that club lifelines are NOT provided for any S.R.T. use. Mike Cowlinshaw proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Nigel Taylor and carried unanimously.

The B.B. Editor's report followed.  Alan Thomas said that he wished to re-iterate the thanks of the club to the editor and others who had managed to keep the costs down.  Nigel Taylor proposed that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Chris Rowell and carried unanimously.

The Publications Report followed.  There was no discussion.  Its adoption was proposed by Maurice isles and seconded by John Dukes.  It was carried without dissent.

In the absence of the Librarian, his report his report was read by the Hon.Sec.  Alan Thomas asked for access to the library was obtained. He was told the Hut Warden and the Hut Engineer had leys in addition to the Hon. Librarian.  Alfie proposed that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Bob Cross and carried without dissent.

The I.D.M.F. report was read by Mike Palmer.  In reply to a question as to how the fund now stood with respect to its original capital, Barrie said that it was within pennies of its original capital.  It was then proposed that the report be adopted by Stephen Boyd and seconded by Maurice Isles.

The chairman then dealt with members resolutions.  The first of these was from the retiring committee who put it forward as a result of being auctioned by the 1974 A.G.M.  “It is proposed that this Annual General Meeting (1) instructs the 1975/6 Committee to carry out an urgent revision of the club rules to include a clause which waives the right of members to sue each other for damages should an accident arise in connection with any club activity.  An example of such a clause is the Wessex Rule 10 (which was quoted). (2) Instructs the 1975/6 committee to carry out a revision of the club application for membership form to include any waiver as given above and to issue it for retrospective signature by the present membership.  A separate form carrying such a waiver to be signed by parent or guardian should be designed for minors.  (3) Takes note of the possible untenable position of our trustees in respect of a possible claim on our insurance and instruct the future committee to act on its behalf so as to ensure that the trustees are suitably indemnified against being preferential defendants in any suit for damages.”

After a lively discussion, an amendment to delete the waiver so as to allow member to member actions but not member to club actions was carried by the meeting with 13 votes in favour to 11 against.  The amended resolution was then put to the vote and carried 29 - 0.

A proposal by Dave Irwin, “That the 1975/76 committee urgently investigate a mechanism to enable school clubs in Somerset to affiliate to the B.E.C. should they desire to do so” was then put to the meeting by the chairman.  This aroused strong feelings.  Some members were violently against such a move.  Alan Thomas, for example, said that such a resolution was counter to what had been the club’s policy on affiliation since he had been a member.  Nigel Taylor said that if the club were going to reverse their policy of so many years standing at a moments notice, we might have to reconsider his membership.  On the other hand, some members argued that the B.E.C. ought to recognise changes in the caving scene and if necessary act accordingly.  Ian Wilton-Jones argued that it was better to take part in and help to exert control over school caving rather than ignore it.  After further discussion along these lines, Nigel Taylor proposed an amendment, “that the committee be restrained form taking any action on this subject and be confined to making recommendations only.”  Alan Thomas said that this was implicit in the original resolution.  Don McFarlane said that he would second the amendment and a vote was taken.  The amendment was defeated by 11 votes to 19.

Graham Wilton-Jones then proposed an amendment, “Notwithstanding the implications of the resolution now before the meeting in its original form, the committee be expressly empowered to act on any recommendation they might make.”  This was seconded by Mike Cowlinshaw and defeated by 10 votes to 23.  A further amendment to the effect that the committee could act but only after having conducted a postal ballot and obtained a majority in favour of the proposed action was also put to the meeting and defeated by 11 votes to 18. At this stage, the chairman put the original resolution to the vote, and it was carried by 24 votes to 10.

A second proposal by Dave Irwin was then taken.  This resolution stated, “That this club deplores the proliferation of certification in both national and local caving and climbing activities and will instruct the C.S.C.C. to continue to press its philosophy as detailed in 'Caving for Beginners'.  The recent circular letter by the C.C.P.R. proposing a national standard award certificate should in particular be deplored.  This resolution was seconded by Alan Thomas and put at once to the vote.  It was carried with 43 in favour and a single vote against.

The chairman then called for any other business.  Mike Wheadon proposed a vote of thanks to Colin Dooley and to Dave Irwin for their work as Hut Warden and Hon. Secretary.  This was carried with acclaim.

Mike Palmer questioned the need for a Climbing Secretary.  He said that he appreciated that the club constitution required the club to appoint one, and was not proposing at this stage to start the process in motion for removing this from the constitution, but merely thought that this might be the start for the committee to start thinking about the role of the Climbing secretary in view of the very small amount of climbing now carried out.  Perhaps a Miscellaneous Activities Sec. might be a good idea.  There was a short discussion and no formal proposal resulted. However, Bob Cross proposed that,” This A.G.M. take note Mike Palmer's remarks.” Bob's proposal was recommended to the meeting from the chair and carried with 22 in favour to 1 against.

There being no further business, the chairman declared the meeting closed at 3.15 p.m.


In view of the printing troubles, a separate communication has been sent to members requesting nominations for the 1976-1977 Committee.  Voting forms (if required) will also be sent out separately from the B. B.

Once again, the A.G.M. and Dinner will he held on Saturday, October 2nd.  The A.G.M. starts at 10.30 a.m. at the Belfry.  Please try to turn up - and turn on time - as there may well be a lot to get through.  Two very important issues are the club public liability insurance - a matter which affects every single member of the club; and the future of the B. B. which again affects everyone.  These, and other subjects need a properly conducted debate, and members like to have enough time to make their preparations for the dinner, so PLEASE TURN UP EARLY.

The Dinner is at 7 p.m. for 7.30 at the Town Hall at Glastonbury.  For those making their own way, it is by the Abbey ruins.  There will be COACHES starting from the Belfry and coming back to the Belfry afterwards.  Please indicate whether you want seats.  Nigel Taylor is running the coaches.

An attempt has been made to lay on a really good menu with a choice of main course (there is also a wide choice of the sweet course from the sweet trolley).  Please indicate if you want Steak Bordelaise OR Coc au Vin when you get in touch with Barrie for your tickets.

There will be an adequately stocked bar and a Wine Bar to ensure that you do not have to wait for wine during the dinner itself.  After dinner entertainment is being laid on by Alfie and is such that it can be tailored to suit the wishes of those present.  The aim is to have enough to satisfy those who wish to be entertained and not enough to bore those who prefer to spend the evening chatting to old friends.

The price of the ticket is £3 - which is not high when one considers inflation and the price of bought-out food generally.

Please book as early as possible WITH YOUR MONEY and give or send it to Barrie Wilton.  The closing date is likely to be adhered to this year, so don't rely on being able to 'get in on the day' - you could be disappointed!

The committee and organisers of the Dinner cannot, of course, guarantee that a amazing time will be had by all but the indications are good.  It is probably true to say that the B.E.C. Dinner is the only large scale caving dinner now being held on Mendip, so come along and help make it another of those dinners to remembered years afterwards as one of the highs to your caving career.

A further reminder to those attending the A.G.M. and the Dinner.  Are you still a member of the B.E.C.  You cannot vote or speak at the A.G.M. unless you are.  Make sure you are paid up at the time!


All contributions to the Belfry Bulletin, including those from officers of the club do not necessarily represent the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the editor, unless specifically stated as being such.

Committee Members and Officers of the Club for 1976/77

A total of 7 members from last year’s committee expressed their willingness to stand again. Only one nomination was received by the Hon. Secretary prior to the A.G.M. bringing the total to eight.  As a result, there was no election, and the 1976/77 committee is thus, at present: -

Chris Batstone, Paul. Christie, Alfie Collins, John Dukes Tim Large, Mike Wheadon, Barrie Wilton & Graham Wilton-Jones.

Graham Wilton-Jones was not able to attend the October committee meeting.  It is hoped that he will continue as Tacklemaster. Assuming this, Club Officers are at present as follows: -

Committee Chairman and Editor, B.B.       Alfie Collins

Hon. Secretary.                                       Mike Wheadon

Hon. Treasurer.                                        Barrie Wilton

Caving Secretary.                                     Tim Large

Hut Warden.                                            Chris Batstone

Tacklemaster.                                          Graham W - J.

Belfry Engineer.                                       John Dukes.

The committee are formally advertising for a CLIMBING SECRETARY.  He is required by the club constitution to be a committee member, and any suitable volunteer will therefore be co-opted to the committee.

The committee are also looking for ASSISTANTS to the HUT WARDEN and to the BELFRY ENGINEER. Please contact any member of the committee if you think you can help, or come to the next committee meeting on Friday, November 12th.

ANGIE DOOLEY has resigned from being MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY and this is now being dealt with by MIKE WHEADON, who should be contacted for any matters which Angie used to deal with.




At the A.G.M., the club decided to follow up the suggestion I made and to form a team to produce the B.B. in the future.  Between now and the end of the year, this team will be getting itself set up and will become increasingly involved with producing the B. B. until the January B.B. becomes the first one to be fully produced by teamwork.

Before introducing the members of the team and their jobs one point should be made perfectly clear from the outset.  The idea of forming a team is not to give the present editor a whole lot of assistants. When the team becomes fully set up, the editor will be just one member of it and the team will decide such matters as any change of format or cover etc.  This, then, is where I step down from being a one-man-band (and not before time, I can almost hear you saying!)

Starting with the bloke in the front line - doing one of the most important jobs in the whole team, is ANDY SPARROW whose job it now is to collect enough articles, letters and other contributions from members to keep the B.B. going.  He will try to accumulate a reserve stock, so that if he has to be away for any reason, there is always enough to print the next B.B. Andy will be relying on all members to produce stuff for him and because this job is so important, it might pay to have a closer look at the nuts and bolts of it.

A 20 page sized B.B. needs about 15 pages of its pages to be filled by members.  This is about half a page EVERY DAY, and about 225 words.  It sounds (and is!) quite a job to persuade members to keep this up, but it has been done in the past by a handful of regular writers.  An interesting thought is that on average we get about a new member every fortnight, or 26 a year so if each member wrote a total of 7 pages for the B.B. during the entire course of his or her membership, this would be enough to keep the B.B. going for ever.  If you look at it this way, it is not an awful lot to ask for.  Ask yourself how you are measuring up to this standard. Have you produced your seven pages yet? Have a word with Andy and work something out.

The next member of the team is BARRIE WILTON who has agreed to look after all the supplies, ranging from paper to small items like non-reproducing pencils.  He will, of course, keep his Treasurer's eye on expenditure.

With supplies of articles and stationery arranged by Andy and Barrie, the actual preparation of the masters will be shared by ALFIE and MIKE WHEADON, who will, between them, be able to cover each other in case of holidays, sickness or absence.

Printing will be done by ALAN KENNETT, assisted where necessary by TONY CORRIGAN with ALFIE as a further back stop.  Collating and folding will still be done by MIKE and PAT PALMER and the postal side will still be done by BRENDA WILTON.

Thus, no less than nine members will shortly be running the B.B. between them.  If this arrangement can be work and stay that way, we should have the B.B. on solid footing for the future.

Whither The Club Dinner?

Perhaps more than the usual crop of grumbles will emerge from this year’s dinner.  Again, perhaps not. To date, the committee have received two letters - one complaining about the food, the service and the general standard of dress and manners and the other saying what a fine dinner it was and how much the writer had enjoyed it.

The committee are very well aware of the fact that the sheer size of the B.E.C. dinner is making any real choice of venue and caterer almost impossible.  In spite of the greatest number of enquiries ever made, ranging over a wide area, months went by without a single taker and the actual venue was only found at a late stage after a long and fruitless search for somewhere - anywhere - to hold it.

In comparison with some other clubs, whose dinners have been decreasing in numbers of late, the B.E.C. dinner has been expanding, and the club committee have naturally been loath to consider any major changes to what has seemed to be a winning formula.  However, the time might have come for changes to be looked into, and the committee have given themselves a month to canvass opinion as much as possible to see what, if any, changes club members might like to see put into effect.

To date, two suggestions have surfaced.  One suggests that hot soup could well be followed by a COLD main course with perhaps baked potatoes and a cold sweet.  Plates could be prepared while the pre-dinner drinks were going on, thus saving time in serving.  A place like the newly enlarged Priddy Village Hall is quite capable of seating the B.E.C. under these circumstances.

The other suggestion is that the dinner should cater for fewer people and be held in some place where 'plush' surroundings, good food and good service could be relied upon. It would, of course, be expensive, but this itself might help to limit the numbers.

Any other suggestions are, of course, very welcome and members are urged to contact the committee. The next meeting of the committee is on Friday, 12th of November as the first Friday is Guy Fawkes Day.  The success or failure of next years dinner could well depend on what is decided then, so make sure that your voice is heard!



Please note that members are obliged to collect 5p per head from non-members using club tackle. Leaders of parties should remember to collect any tackle fees.

An experiment in removing most of the cutlery and the crockery from the Belfry will be taking place soon in an effort to solve the washing-up problem.  Further details will be published soon.  This is a preliminary warning!

Owing to the higher cost of insurance, the committee have decided that the subscription for 1977 will have to be raised to £3.00 and the Joint member’s rate to £4.25.  The committee felt that it was better to make a relatively small increase to the sub to combat inflation as they occurred, rather than to wait until a large increase became necessary.  It is interesting to note that today’s £3.00 is worth approximately 6/- in pre-war terms, and the sub in those days was 10/-, so we are still on the winning side if that is any consolation in these hard times!

A scheme for paying annual subscriptions by BANKER’S ORDER will shortly be announced.  This will enable club members to forget about having to renew their sub.  The treasurer asks that any members wishing to pay this way please WAIT for instructions and NOT make their own arrangements with their bank.  Otherwise, he may not know who has paid by this method.

Members who were not at the A.G.M. may like to know that the new insurance arrangements, although more expensive than the old ones, GIVE LESS COVER FOR MEMBERS.  This will be spelt out separately, possibly in this B.B. If YOU are uncertain as to whether you are covered to the extent you would wish, BOB WHITE, our insurance broker, will be happy to advise you.  His address is R. White and Co, Insurance Brokers, 14 Broad Street, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2DN and his phone number is Wells 75077.  It is essential that Cuthbert’s Leaders arrange adequate cover, and they will be contacted by the Caving Secretary.

The Hut Warden wants volunteers to help on working weekends at the Belfry.  Please get in touch with Chris Batstone

Owing to the troubles which have hit the B.B. recently, we realise that some articles are now a bit behindhand in time but this one is still just as readable.


Whitsun in Yorkshire

Andy Sparrow describes his Whitsun activities in this account of a trip to Yorkshire

Yorkshire was the scene of more B.E.C. activity this Whitsun when John Dukes, Chris Batstone, Sue Jordan and Andy Sparrow decided to do some caving there.  We set off on the Friday evening and after the inevitable pub stop, reached the Bradford Cottage at 2.30 in the morning.  We attempted to communicate with the snoring lumps within, but with no success.  Deciding to pitch some tents, we drove off along an obscure road into the hills to find a suitable spot.  Flickers of lightning over Ingleborough and spots of rain encouraged us to stop and erect tents in the nearest field.  No sooner were we inside our pits when a cataclysmic thunderstorm broke.  Several times that night we thought we were about to lose our flysheets in the howling gale.

Next morning was dry and, after taking down the tents, we returned to the Bradford Cottage.  As it turned out, there was plenty of room and we stayed there for the rest of the holiday.  After some debate, we decided to go down Alum Pot via Long Churn.  We were soon at the top of the Alum Pot Lane, getting changed and sorting tackle. Much later found us at what we thought was the right entrance, so off we set.  We followed a fine streamway down some short wet climbs to the head of a very deep wet pitch, where Chris found Andy desperately scratching for handholds, screaming "Diccan!, Diccan!" in a high-pitched voice. Retracing our steps for two hundred feet we found a short crawl that soon led us into Long Churn proper.  A large passage led down a short climb to the head of the first 45 foot pitch.  Laddering this gave access to a large pebble floored passage emerging into daylight on a ledge halfway down the main Alum Pot shaft.

Descending another short ladder pitch brought us to the point where the huge flirt of the main shaft narrows, forming ledges on either side.  Following one of these brought us to the Bridge, a huge block jammed across the shaft at an angle of 45O.  Climbing down over the Bridge to the head of the next pitch provides one with a fine view of the shaft.  Twin waterfalls cascade at each end of the rift and shower down for over a hundred and fifty feet.  Descending the next pitch of 45 ft brought us to the bottom of the Main Shaft, where some short, wet climbs led to the head of the last pitch of 115 feet.

From the base of this pitch, the view up the Main Shaft is memorable and most spectacular.  Beneath the pitch, a brief section of streamway descends to where the 120 ft deluge from Diccan thunders down.  From here, the sump follows immediately, rather a sad end to an easy but very impressive trip.

Returning up the pitches, we followed Long Churn upstream and found a delightful half mile walk up a fine streamway.  So pleasant, in fact, that we ran up and down it three times.  That night found us in the Helwith Bridge supping Tetley's, where we met a strong contingent of Wessex notables.  For some strange reason, we then phoned the Belfry; so that we could insult people we had gone three hundred miles to get away from!

On Sunday morning, we spent an hour trying to decide which cave to do.  We finally decided to do the Northern equivalent of Goatchurch - Calf Holes. MUCH, MUCH later when we eventually found the entrance - it proved very impressive.  A huge stream was pouring down the side of an elliptical rift, thirty feet long and deep.  Close by was an alternative dry shaft which we laddered and descended.  Moving upstream and passing under the main waterfall in waist deep water, we entered an inlet passage.  This proved quite uninteresting, so we set off under the waterfall again and went downstream.  This passage, we knew, would take us out through Browgill Cave if only we could find the connection.  We followed a long, knee-deep canal for several hundred feet to where the water vanished under one wall.  After crawling the wrong way, up a long nasty bedding plane full of wellie boots and dead sheep, we found the connection, and regaining the stream, we followed it to the head of a twenty foot waterfall.  This, we by-passed on the right hand side and from its base we followed a large passage out into daylight at the Browgill entrance.

Returning to Calf Holes, we amused ourselves for an hour by laddering the main waterfall.  Passing fell walkers were at a loss to understand why we were climbing up and down in a torrential downpour without bothering to get off at the bottom.  We were starting to wonder ourselves!

Next day was meant to be a classic trip down Gaping Gill via Bar Pot.  However, on arrival, we found Bar to be full of people boot-to-helmet all the way down, so we changed our minds.  The reason for all the people was the G.G. winch meet.  The head of the Main Shaft was like a circus.  There was even a chap with sandwich boards selling Gaping Gill posters.  So we ended our weekend with a ten mile walk over Ingleborough.  Low cloud was just skimming the summit as we arrived at the top. Ignoring the crowds of luminous hill walkers cowering behind the summit shelter we sat on top of the highest cairn and ate sandwiches and mint cake.  Between the passing patches of cloud, we could just discern the peaks of Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside.

The long walk back to Clapham and a cup of tea in the Pen-y-Ghent cafe made a satisfying finish to the day and the weekend.

Editor's Note:     The cairn mentioned - if it's the same one that I remember, is a memorial to Keith Asquith, a very good friend of the B.E.C.


From the Caving Log

extracted by Any Sparrow

23.5.76. Agen Allwedd.

Tim Large, John Dukes, Bucket Tilbury, Graham Wilton-Jones with Ken Gregory, Graham Price and three other Cerberus members.

Grand Circle, anticlockwise. The third and fourth boulder chokes do not seem particularly unstable and the Biza connection appears to be in little danger of collapsing.  Water conditions were low.  Biza Passage appears to be quite complex by Aggie standards.  Southern Stream gets longer every time you do it, I swear. Three of us had a. look at the Cliffs of Dover and. then got out only ten minutes behind the others.  6¾ hours. G. W-J.

2.6.76. A Sea Cave, Bosheston, Pembrokeshire.

Ian and I had a look at the area round St. Goran's Chapel (SR 167929) a couple of years ago at high tide. Today, at low tide, I managed to walk further round the cliffs to the left.  At 9665 9285 interesting cave with large entrance leading to squeeze, then further chamber.  Unfortunately, I was without a light, so, if the army ever moves out of the area, something must go.  Meanwhile we'll have to stick to a rubber boat.          G. W-J.

4.6.76. Cave Sites, Penderyn.

South East of A 4059, near 952 114.  Several collapses through grit into Limestone shales and upper limestone.  Someone is looking at these, and so did I.     G. W -J.


The new insurance arrangements will mean that an annual list of members will be sent to the insurers. This will mean PROMP PAYMENT in future! Just an advance warning!



‘True Tales from History’

A Reminiscence sent in by Jill Tuck.

Editor’s Note:  Although I was far too junior a member to be on the Committee in those days, I can remember this tale being told with great glee at the time.

Once upon a time, a B.E.C. caving party headed for the inoffensive environs of Bath to have a look at some of the stone mines.  We changed in an adjacent school and descended an old shaft actually in the children's playground to the immense interest of the local schoolchildren.

These mines lie only a small distance below the surface the main routes being large enough to walk through in comfort although many of the side passages are low and constricted. We took compass bearings, as some guide to finding the return route, as parts of the mines are fairly involved. As we walked through the passages, our lamps sometimes picked up a distant white pillar which appeared ghost-like as the shadows changed.  I found the atmosphere rather eerie because of this, and the effect was increased by the occasional miners stool which still lay just where the worker had abandoned it.

Along a stretch of wall, for twelve feet or more, a huge colony of bats was hanging, some under a thin stream of water which ran down their legs, soaked their furry bodies, and dripped off their heads.  Why they chose to sleep there, instead of in a dry patch was a mystery.  Presumably even the animal kingdom has its masochists. The sight of hundred of bats doing a comical knees bend act with different timings as we passed, stays in my memory. The whole wall appeared to be in motion.

Eventually, it was time to return, but the compass was no help.  None of the passages went the way we needed to go.  We spread out down various side passages looking for daylight.

At last, a small semi-blocked passage to the surface was found, and we gardened enough rocks away to make egress possible.  George squirmed through on his stomach, stuck his head out into the open air, and told us that he was in a grassy depression, which restricted his view.  He wriggled out further, and then pulled back hastily. He had found that he was in a private garden and that a woman was just coming down the path.  As bad luck would have it, his hasty move loosened some rocks and the woman, curious about the noise, changed course towards the depression. George backed again, as he did not want to alarm her with the sight of his body less head, resting on her garden like some grotesque; cabbage or John the Baptist's on the usual platter.  More stones dropped with his movement.  Really curious now, the housewife stepped into the depression and peered into the new hole now revealed.  George, a gentleman born, raised his caving helmet politely and said "Good afternoon, Madam!"

There was a shriek, nearly audible in Bath, which was followed by a torrent of unladylike rhetoric, interlarded with assertions about our intentions of stealing her raspberries and vegetables.

We did get our bearings and arrived back at the entrance eventually, but it had to be by an underground route.  And the raspberries were just ripe!


An Unusual Ascent of the Scafell Pikes

Another episode in the career of Bob Cross.

Many well known paths climb Scafell and Scafell Pike from the radial valleys of Borrowdale, Eskdale, Wastdale and Langdale.  I have ascended a few of the better known routes and enjoyed them all - in particular the Corridor Route from Sty Head Pass via the head of the spectacular Piers Gill.

During a midweek stay in Langdale in the late spring of 1974, I was invited by two friends to join them on an unusual round trip of the Scafells.  One of' these friends, Mike Rose from Leeds, is an authority on Lakeland fell walking and his company on the fells is both informative and jovial. Andrew Sagar, my other companion, is an accomplished rock climber, a born optimist and a very enthusiastic walker. Needless to say, I found myself in rather superior company.  We were all encamped on the National Trust site at the head of Langdale and our walk started and finished there.

It was a warm spring morning with a clear sky, good visibility and the promise of a settled day. After a good breakfast we started off, the time was a quarter to ten.  Our path lay across the flat pasture land surrounding Stool End Farm, through the outbuildings and across the open fell side to the foot of the Band, a long spur running East/West down .from the summit of Bow Fell.  The Band is a steep, rocky ascent of a mile and a half, and the path leads you to the col between Bow Fell (2,960’) and Crinkle Crags.  In the col are there small tarns, called simply ‘Three Tarns’ but a more apt title would have been ‘Three Puddles.’  From there, we got a fine view of our objectives, Scafell (3,162') Mickledore and Seafell Pike (3,206') overlooking Yeastrigg Crags.  Below, and to the south, we could see the head of Linecove Beck in an area of lush, marshy ground befittingly titled Green Hole.  We followed a feeder stream down the heathy hillside into the hole, getting a boot full of slime and sphagnum moss on our way. A halt was called here in order to empty this sludge from our footwear.  Rather a wild spot was Green Hole - surrounded by dark crags and silent apart from the gentle murmur of the beck and the faint swishing of the breeze through the tussocks.  The apparent illogicality of our route had dawned on me by now as I stared - blinking up at the thirteen hundred feet of hillside we had come down and the three hundred feet we were just about to go up.  I began to think my companions were a pair of lunatics.

The next leg of the mystery tour took us across the Southern end of Yeastrigg Crags and into upper Eskdale at the back of Scafell.  t proved hard going.

A bite to eat; a mash of tea, followed by a footbath and a nap.  What more could a weary mortal want?  That was our dinner break, and we took it at the foot of the well-known Carn Spout Waterfall, a perfect spot for camping or bivouacking.  At this time, the waterfall was in spate, and a fine sight it made.

Upper Eskdale lies between the Scafells, Esk House and Yeastrigg Crags.  The back of the valley is flat and composed largely of moraine, the result of the glaciation and frost shattering of the surrounding peaks.  In dry weather, the infant Esk sinks into the pebbles a quarter of a mile below its confluence with Carn Spout.  The vegetation is almost entirely tussocky grasses and bracken.  In the winter, the whole place is one huge bog when the overlying peat becomes saturated with floodwater.  The most striking feature of the valley is Dow Crag - better known to climbers as the Esk Buttress and situated on the lower slopes of Scafell Pike.

I remember the ascent from Carn Spout to Scafell as being exhausting but nonetheless interesting and very worthwhile.  The first stretch was over steep, sharp rock at the side of the Spout.  This was followed by steep to moderate scree and boulders that led directly to the Col of Mickledore.   After approximately a thousand feet, we turned left off the main path and started up a steep gulley, full of loose blocks which brought us to 'Fox's Tarn'.  Again, like Three Tarns, nothing more than a puddle.  From here, a steep, coarse scree of about three hundred brought us to the summit of Scafell (3,162').

Scafell stands at the Southern tip of a huge arc of mountains that overlook Wastwater.  The summits along the arc could all be seen clearly.  Starting with Haycock (2,618') we could see Scout Fell (2,760') Pillar (2,927') Kirk Fell (2,630') Great Gable (2,946') and finally Scafell Pike.  Features such as Calder Hall Atomic Power Station, the Isle of Man and the Pennines could also be seen.  The green undulations of Cumberland’s coast with wide expanses of sea provided contrast to the frowning mountains.

We got as close as we could to the sheer cliffs of the Central Buttress and gazed down at the jumble of boulders at its feet, called Hollow Stones.  Somewhere down there was the traverse known as Lord's Rake, along which our path was to take us.  Actually, the descent and traverse of Lord’s Rake was not too hairy.  There seemed to be more danger from loose rock and rotten snow than from exposed heights.  In all, about eight hundred feet is lost by the time you have descended to the foot of the Rake.  The traverse across to Mickledore is short and sharp, albeit a little loose and slippery.

Lord's Rake at the time seemed to be a by-word amongst Lakeland fell walkers.  It had been a scene of tragedy as recently as last Christmas, when a schoolmaster and his son had died in the snow while trying to cross it. I recall a feeling of mild satisfaction at having negotiated it safely.  Rock climbers and walkers with a head for heights can descend from Scafell to Mickledore by Broad Strand.  I've looked at it from both directions, but haven't yet dared to venture forth. Rather a well known member of the B.C.R.A. reckons to have descended Broad Strand clad in gum boots and without an ice axe in January!  That’s what he told me, anyway.  For information, there is a Mountain Rescue Kit box strategically positioned below Broad strand.

From Mickledore, our walk took us up over a boulder field to the cairn atop Scafell Pike, England's loftiest spot.

At this point, we must leave Bob until next month!  (Ed.)


Monthly Crossword – Number 68


















































































1. Tread, rather than pealed in caving use. (4)

2. Direction and rock found on Mendip. (9)

3. Nylon 8 down becomes this on applying (e.g.) net load. (9)

4. Describes timber in Mendip cave? (4)

5. Fill ill in magnet superseded by vibrams? (5)

6. Dangering?  Quite the reverse – making safer! (9)

7. A taster we visit on Mendip. (9)

7. Reflection noticeable in some large chambers. (4)

8. See (3). (4)

9. This ground gives cave’s location. (5)




Once again, it is Christmas time.  On behalf of the B.B. team (now much enlarged!) your editor would like to wish all club members; all readers of the B. B. and all cavers everywhere a very happy Christmas.

No Medals For '76

With an almost record low level of publication for the B.B. this year, it has been decided to finish as we have unfortunately gone on, and not to make this issue of the B.B. the traditionally large one which has come to be the usual form for Christmas. Thus, we have the 'normal' page B.B. Instead, effort is going into the January B.B. so that we can hopefully get 1977 off to a good start and go on from there.  If all goes well, we hope that it will be a very different tale by Christmas next year.


With 'only' a normal page B.B., the editor apologises to readers for the relatively large space taken up by his own annual contribution - another of the allegedly humorous tales of Pete Pushem and Co.  This was written some time ago when it was hoped that the B B. would be large enough to 'lose ' it in.  Sorry.

Goodbye To A5

As explained last month, once again we are about to change the size of the B.B. - by almost the unanimous choice of those present - to twice the present page size.  As hinted last month, I found myself in a minority over this choice, but have no reason to grumble, since the meeting made it clear that, should I feel strongly enough, about the format, it would remain as it is now.  The new arrangement has some advantages over this size, and some disadvantages.  One of these is that, even if we manage to increase the ‘normal’ recent size of the B.B. from 20 pages like this, it will still look thinner.  However, we hope we shall be improving the general appearance of the B.B. next year to be more in line with what the club might hope for.  Time will, of course, tell.

The N.C.A. and All That

For some time now, the B.B. has carried no real news on the subject of N.C.A. and its possible reorganisation.  The reason, as you may remember, was that while the Working Party on the structure of N.C.A. was conducting its research, it was thought best not to try to influence matters in any way.  This Working Party has now finished its work, and will be presenting its findings to the Annual Meeting of N.C.A. on the 4th of December.  The Southern Council is going to ask for the report to lay 'on the table' until a special meeting - to be held in the spring of next year - can have time to consider it and act accordingly.  One hopes that, both at the Annual Meeting and the Special meeting (if agreed to) commonsense will prevail.



Not Happy on The Surface

A description of a trip with a difference sent in by Barbara Turner

Early one Sunday morning, David woke up and decided to go for a good trip.   As I don't like to miss out on anything, I decided to join him instead of lying in bed.

We reached the field, and David thought I was going to sit in the car while he went off, and was quite surprised when I announced that I wanted to join him and his friends.  It was a beautiful morning, and I soon got ready - completing my preparations by putting on my helmet.  Although it was my sixth trip, I was still a little apprehensive as we left the surface behind, but I didn't find it too arduous.  The scenery was beautiful and the air smelt fresh, but being a trifle nervous, I was continually telling David to mind this or that, in spite of the fact that he has perfect eyesight.  Obstacles do seem to appear from nowhere, and I asked if we could keep still for a moment, but he said we must carry on.  The other thing that worried me was the light.  I wondered what would happen if it went out, but I was assured that it wouldn't, although David admitted that if it went out at a tricky point, or stayed out for good, we might not stay alive long enough to worry much about it.

I diverted my thoughts to other things, and was surprised when David said that it was time we thought about getting back to the surface.  We approached it slowly at first, them suddenly it was there with a bang and everyone landed on top of me.  What a good trip!  An unusual one, you may think – but life is very eventful being married to someone who is not happy at ground level.

The trip I have just described took place 1,000 feet above the ground in a balloon - not 1,000 feet below it in a cave!


Rest Assured

Author's Note: The B.E.C. of Pete Pushem, and the rest of that fictional band of cavers, bears no relation to the Bristol Exploration Club, but are a purely fictional set of characters who come up against and somehow overcome difficulties which represent extrapolations of trends in present day caving as their author sees them.  The trend being flogged to death this year is topically.  Public Liability Insurance and its effect in a purely hypothetical future.  In presenting this episode, the author must stress that no resemblance of any kind is intended to any real cavers or incidents; to any caver’s relatives; to managers of actual insurance companies; to actual Claims Investigators, Solicitors or to anyone connected in any way with the subject dealt with.  This fictional tale is intended as a Christmas fantasy, and not as comment on an actual situation of any kind

------- I -------

It is a dark, wet, cold, foggy, typical Mendip autumn evening.  Inside the old Mendip pub, which all form of progress have luckily overlooked, the cosy - not to say snug - atmosphere is failing to have its customary effect.  In short, the B.E.C. have a problem.  Pete Pushem, one huge, hairy fist clutching his tankard is, as usual, holding forth.

“If I'd known that ruddy twit Wethen's ruddy parents would threaten us with ruddy negligence, I'd have wrung his ruddy neck for him.  No ruddy gratitude for being taken caving!”

“We shouldn't have been caving.”  Fred Ferrett remarks.  “We all know that when the insurance went up to £50 a member, and we stopped paying it, we weren't covered for this sort of thing - only for Social Activities.”

“I know that:" growls Pete, taking a savage swig at his beer.  “We play ruddy dominoes when anyone's about and go ruddy caving in the middle of the ruddy night.”

“That's the snag." muses Ron Runnitt.  “We were all tiddly at that time of night.  Completely slewed, in fact, it was rough luck that somebody lurched a bit, as a man will, and knocked young Wethen into the pot, where he broke his leg. Can't very well deny that it happened.”

"We've ruddy got to!” points out Pete.  “Otherwise they'll collar all our ruddy assets to pay the ruddy damages.”

Sid Spanner has so far said nothing.  He has been thinking.  “We might get away with it,” he now remarks, “given good luck.”

Unfortunately, it is not the B.E.C.’s lucky day.  Lurking in the deep shadows at the other end of the, bar sits Stan Sniff, the claims investigator.  Owing to the acoustics of the room, he has not heard the entire conversation, but he has, he feels, heard quite enough to exonerate the insurance company from any possible claim.  As they continue to talk, he slides expertly and quite unnoticed out of the pub.

------- II -------

It is a few days later. We are in the offices of the Helictite Insurance Co., known in the trade as ‘the old Erratic.’  The manager, Charley Coverall, is conferring with his secretary, the attractive Belinda Bedworthy.

“This letter from the B.E.C.” he says, waving the offending piece of paper in the air, “reporting that a guest received an injury while engage in social activities.  Isn’t this the case we put Sniff on to?”

Belinda nods.  Past experience has taught her never to say ‘yes’ to even the most innocuous of Charley’s remarks.  She hand him a file, which he looks at.

“Ha!”, he snorts.  “Here it is!  They admitted they were caving - and drunk as well.  'Tiddly' and 'slewed' I see.  We're in the clear.”

Belinda frowns. She has often found this a good move.

“It's only their word against Sniff’s and possibly Wethen’s” she suggests.

Charley looks at her. She has, he thinks, the most delightful legs.  She really should wear shorter skirts with legs like that.  With an effort, he recalls the subject of the conversation.

“Get Sniff to look in at their Hut, and try to trip them up.  I want to make dead sure we get the better of that lot.”

------- III -------

It is early one evening when Stan Sniff knocks most deferentially on the Belfry door.  It is opened, after the merest pause, by an obsequious Ron Runnitt.  Sniff is invited to enter.

Pete Pushem is seated at a table, playing patience.  Nearby, an animated game of dominoes is in progress. At a side table, Sam Strangeways is pouring himself a small orange juice.  It is a peaceful, if dull, scene.

Introductions are soon made. Sniff has expressed his interest in joining the club.  Sam, giving every appearance of a man speaking the truth, is replying.

“So you see, we are now a social club dedicated to the playing of harmless indoor games.  You will appreciate that we cannot allow you to join at once, because many newcomers tend to find our way of life too dull for them.  Have an orange juice?”

Sniff adopts a crafty expression.  “I had heard,” he suggests, “that you still go caving.”

“Ah”, says Fred Ferrett, “A mistake that people often make, I fear.  It is true that we once went caving but, guided by our insurers, we came to realise that it was an anti-social pastime.”

“One that we were well rid of!”, adds Sam.

Pete Pushem’s face is slowly turning purple.  Blood vessels stand out on his neck.  It may, of course, be the effect of drinking orange juice, but Sid Spanner fears that the strain is proving too much.   As Pete rises to his feet, Sam wonders whether all will be lost.

“I feel it is time,” Pete finally says in a voice totally unlike his usual bellow, “that we all sang a few hymns.”

------- IV -------

We are back in the offices of the Helictite.  Charley Coverall is pacing up and down, snarling to himself. The wretched Sniff cowers in a corner.  The atmosphere is tense.

“So!” hisses Coverall, “You completely failed.  Do you realise that I have had to write to them and actually ask them if they will take our representative to see, the spot where the accident took place?”

Sniff prudently remains silent.

“And do you know what they have had the nerve to reply?  They say that, as they have no insurance cover, they cannot help, but since we are both, no doubt, interested in furthering the cause of truth and justice, they will gladly take our representative to wherever he thinks an accident might have taken place, provided that we arrange a years cover for them at our expense.”

Charley glowers at the wretched Stan Sniff.

“And what is more, we'll damned well have to do it, if we want to visit the scene of the accident. I can't send you - you're too incompetent.  I wonder if our Belinda could soften them up a bit?”

------- V -------

It is some time later. Belinda has just returned from her caving trip.  It has turned out a strangely quiet affair for there is scarcely a man - or woman - in the party who is not wrestling with some knotty mental problem.

Fred Ferrett, for instance, wonders whether this girl will insist on staying at the Belfry and playing dominoes and drinking orange juice and if so, how he can manage to slope off. Pete Pushem is wondering how much longer the club can hold out against such an attractive girl.  Some one, he thinks gloomily, is bound to crack up sooner or later.  Unbeknowing to Pete, this has already happened.

Sid Spanner can only think what a marvellous girl Belinda is.  She has taken to caving like a duck to water.  He now feels certain he can trust her, and had resolved to tell her all. Belinda, in turn is thinking that Sid is terrific and is looking forward to caving with him as much as possible. In fact, her thoughts have progressed as far as making little wetsuits for the children, when she remembers that she and Sid are supposed to be on opposite sides.  Her job is to drop Sid in the clag.  Its a situation that the late P.G. Wodehouse would have appreciated, even though (by some oversight, no doubt) he was never a member of the B.E.C.

------- VI -------

It is snowing much later that same evening.  A uniform state of gloom hangs over the B.E.C.  It would not be stretching a point to say that morale is at a low ebb. Fred Ferrett, for example, has not managed to slope off and an evening of dominoes and orange juice has left him physically and mentally exhausted.  Sid Spanner has found matters even more frustrating.  This girl, who he had so much admired, has now shown herself to be a girl who likes drinking orange juice and playing dominoes.  He has just decided to remain a bachelor for life. Pete Pushem is deciding that now she has at last gone, he is so full of orange juice that there is no room for beer.

Belinda, on the other hand, has made up her mind.  She has driven straight to the nearest pub, where she is gratefully drinking a restoring pint of bitter while phoning her favourite uncle.

“…so you see, uncle, why I have got to help these boys.  Wethen's description of the place where he got knocked over is a bit vague, and now I have been down a cave, I'm sure it could fit almost any pitch.  What the boys need is a good story to explain what that horrible man Sniff overheard.  That, uncle is where you come in.  You remember when you used to be quite an expert.”

Belinda's uncle - always the sportsman - grins to himself as the scheme unfolds.

------- VII -------

We are, luckily, for the last time in the offices of the Helictite.  A meeting is in progress between Charley Coverall, Stan Sniff and a solicitor representing the B.E.C.  There is also, of course, Belinda.  For some reason she is wearing her shortest skirt and her lowest cut blouse. The effect is such that none of the others can really concentrate on what they are supposed to be doing.

“I really cannot see,” Charley manges to say, why we are wasting time like this.  There can be no question of our meeting any claim, since Mr Sniff here is prepared to state that he overheard them admit they were down a cave and in an inebriated cond1tfon. There is really nothing more I have to say.”

The club’s solicitor smiles blandly, for all the world as if about to tell the truth.  “It seems,” he says, “that Wethen claims to have sustained- injuries as a result of falling into or on to a pot.  He has given a description of: the place where the injury is alleged to have occurred which he could easily obtained from any of the old guidebooks.  The rest of your story is based on what Mr. Sniff here thinks he heard in a public house, while he was no doubt, consuming alcoholic refreshment.  There is some mention of a person or persons being ‘tiddly’. The word ‘slewed’ has also been mentioned.  Wethen apparently fell into, or on to, a pot after somebody had lost his balance and fallen against him.  Whether this action amounts to negligence is a moot point, since this habit of the B.E.C. drinking orange juice may, for all I know, affect their balance, but,” he pauses for dramatic effect, “it is also well known that the B.E.C. now play indoor games, since they can no longer afford the insurance to go caving.  I have, you will be interested to hear, been in touch with an expert on the traditional English game of Tiddlywinks.

It appears, not unreasonably, that at some stage of this game, a player is said to be tiddly.  It also appears that a certain kind of shot is called a slewed shot and that the vessel into which they endeavour to flip the counter known as the wink, is called the pot.  It would seem that Mr. Sniff, who perhaps had found it necessary to fortify himself against the cold with a certain amount of alcoholic refreshment, in fact overheard the cavers going over what had happened during a particularly hard fought game of Tiddlywinks, during which Wethen fell on to (not 'into') the pot.  I am, of course, prepared to produce my expert witness if necessary.”

There is an awkward silence. It is broken at last by Belinda.

“What do you think of this explanation?” she innocently asks, leaning as far forward in their direction as is consistent with retaining her balance on her chair.

“Lovely,” murmurs Sniff.

“Beautiful,” breaths Coverall.

Belinda dutifully notes their replies.

------- VIII -------

It is early one evening, just before Christmas, soon after these shattering events have taken place. The B.E.C. are, naturally, on their way to the pub.  Now that they have a fully paid up insurance policy, they have been able to go underground in the daytime, but even this has failed to have its customary euphoric effect. Pete is wondering whether the beer he is currently brewing for Christmas will be seized with his other effects, as he does not yet know what has occurred.  Sid, equally in the dark, is still bitterly disillusioned.  They file gloomily into the pub.

Standing by the bar, looking lovely in the soft glow of the oil lamps in spite of the old clothes she is wearing, is a girl.  It is, of course, Belinda.  She is just draining a pint of bitter in a manner that even the experts of the B.E.C. are forced to admire.  She would, Pete thinks, prove an asset to any team in a boat race.  Slowly, she turns round and smiles at them.

“It is my round.” She says. “What are you having?”

------- IX -------

It is very much later that same evening.  It may even be early the next morning.  It is not a point likely to worry the B.E.C.  Much, after all, has happened.  Belinda has brought them up to date on recent events.  She has even managed to get their new policy into the file marked 'automatic annual renewal' - for she is not a girl who does things by halves - although she has to tell them that their old policy now has an exclusion forbidding them to play the dangerous game of Tiddlywinks.  This news nearly causes them to spill their beer.  One way and another, they have had quite an evening.

Now, Pete Pushem is sitting in the Belfry, contentedly surveying the scene which meets with his entire approval.  Ron Runnitt is fast asleep in another chair, his tankard dangling from his hand. Outside, Pete can hear the melodious sound or Fred Ferrett honking in the moonlight.  Over the far side of the room, Belinda is expertly putting the unconscious form or Sid Spanner into his bunk.  He gazes on this domestic touch with particular approval.  If all goes well, he reflects as his eyes finally close, the B.E.C. will not be losing a son so much as gaining a daughter.


The Adventures of P.C. Plod

or, “The Advantages of having a policeman around the place."

By Paul Christie.

The scene is a sunny Saturday in July on Mendip.  The Belfry was inhabited for the weekend by a number of familiar faces, including our own intrepid 'Mr' Plod.

Breakfast had come and gone and so had lunch at the Hunters.  Surrey Heath Caving Club, having spent all the morning festering, finally decided that they would have to go caving.  Even the Hut Warden was mumbling about going down a cave, and hastily assembled a party.  These two groups of cavers appeared to include everybody who was staying at the Belfry except for 'Mr' Plod, who rarely goes caving anyway.  However, the ever watchful and observant 'Mr' Plod had noticed something else.  In true detective story fashion, we will call the extra man who 'Mr' Plod had noticed when everybody else overlooked his presence, Mr. X, for want of a more descriptive name.

The events of the next three hours are unknown to me, but it appears that X was left alone at the Belfry when 'Mr' Plod went to see his family.  By the time the cavers had returned, Mr X had left Mendip to go no one knew where.

Showers were taken, cooking tea began, and everything seemed quite normal.

The next item on the agenda was the Hunters.  Everyone went to their pits to get their purses and wallets etc. Then, simultaneously from the four points of the Belfry, an agonising sound was heard. Investigations quickly revealed that four people had lost a total of £42.50.

The police were informed and the people who had lost money were interviewed.  At the end of the weekend, we all went out individual ways, a little poorer and a little wiser.  Don’t leave money and valuables in your pit!

(That's the obvious place for a thief to look ).

Months passed, and the money was as good as forgotten.

We were now into September, and two contingents of club members were gathered in Manchester for the B.C.R.A. Conference.  All were assembled in the Renold Building of U.M.I.S.T. along with cavers from all over the country and various exhibitors and organisations selling their wares.

Sometime during the Saturday afternoon, an excited 'Mr' Plod approached me, looking serious, and asked me to go down to the Y.B.A. stand and see if I recognised anyone.

On getting there, I was shocked to discover that I did.  It was our friend X who, by this time, I thought I would never see again as he was the obvious candidate for the theft already described.  Well, that was two of us who recognised him, but 'Mr' Plod, being a good policeman, wanted to make sure.  Who else was at the Belfry who could remember this person?  We quickly remembered Sandy, who even remembered speaking to him and who was probably the best witness.  She recognised him immediately so (softly, softly,) 'Mr' Plod moved into action.  Questioning began and our Mr X was not having it at all.  Although unable to offer an alibi or other proof, he was adamant that he had not been at the Belfry on the weekend in question despite being faced by three people who remembered him from that weekend.  'Mr' Plod was "not satisfied with his story and decided to fetch the cavalry, sorry, the local fuzz (OINK!)  Mr X was then taken away to "help the police with their enquiries" at about 4 p.m. and after nearly three hours of questioning decided for once in his life to be a white man and confess.

The story continued at Wells Magistrates Court on the following Monday, where the young man was asked to pay the £42.50 compensation and fined a further £50.

Whatever else one might say about policemen when they pull you up for speeding; it is handy to have one for a friend.  This is a true story.  Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent (OINK!) and the guilty, whose true punishment awaits him should he dare return to the Belfry.


Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

We are assured, or perhaps threatened that this could turn into a regular feature of the B.B. in the future!

If this gets past the new B.B. team it will become the first of a series of monthly articles of a slightly satirical bent, by a syndicate of ‘Mendip Birds’ giving readers a bird's-eye view of the social scene.  Firstly, I suppose we must defeat our own laziness and make an effort to provide seven pages of material apiece during our time of membership.  Since there are at least five of us, we should be able to go on for some time particularly since we intend only to deliver the best insults which are, by definition, brief.

First, I bring to your attention, the B.E.C. representation on the Hunters Shove Ha'penny team. Although the team are doing very well at propping up the league (they haven't won a match yet, have they?) Barrie and Jon-Jon have at least excessively won their rounds and it seems that we might have to recruit moody Pete if we are to retain only B.E.C. representation.

It must be cold in February, for at least three of our more senior members celebrated getting older in November.  Alan Thomas, Mike Palmer and Mike Wheadon (to name but one.)  Reviewing this scene, I can't see that it is much of a triumph for sobriety.  Their ages total at least the century even if Alan IS only thirty!

I have often wondered if there is any truth in the rumour that educational standards are in decline and on balance, I think that this years' influx of 'freshers' (for their Hunters initiation) removes any doubt.  Still perhaps their studies will keep them too busy to come back again!

Back at the Belfry there has been a significant lack of Chris Batstone, who seems to spend most of his week ends now at weddings (Pete Eckford was the latest) and it is beginning to be doubtful now whether Chris is the cause or the effect.  Incidentally, we notice that 'Mr' Nigel is back to sub-normal and free from potential matrimonial situations – SNAFU!

Novels and publications seem to be coming back into vogue now that S'nab has joined the long line of aspiring novelists.  However, with such exalted family connections who knows?  We may yet see his non-de-guerre in the bookshops.  Talking of books and publications (who was?) you may have seen a rather sorry Yellow Biddle version of 'The Caving Songs of Mendip' published by Grampian.  It's quite flattering to know that our folklore has spread so far, but it's a shame that he managed to get the words of even some of the well-known songs wrong. Never mind.  It may be just the spur to our Alfie to produce the definitive version (but don't hold your breath waiting, folks!)

Did you notice the brief mention of the Grampian back there?  Well, they've recently held their dinner and it was well attended by B.E.C. bods, some of whom were heard to mutter 'never in the field of human thirst have so many quested so far for so many pints'.  Martin Bishop went up and, naturally managed to inflict yet another injury on himself - only a sprain this time - but it is rumoured round the Hunters that if he fractures any more he'll have to go bionic!

That's about all for this month, but I thought it would be nice to finish with the odd quote or so if there is room, heard around the pub or the shed.

"If you're older than him, why does he look older than you?"

"Swildons is different from when I was last down in 1960.”


Extracts from the Caving Log

Another series of highlights from the caving log.

compiled by Andy Sparrow

Some accounts of original exploration in Ireland by Sue Jordan - now Mrs. Sue Lord.

10.7.76. Carrickbeg, Fermanagh.

Paddy O’Reilly, Jeff Philpis, Martyn Farr, Dave Morris, Pete Lord, Sue Jordan.  Could this have been Ireland's biggest diving trip in history? Ten hours of digging put the Irish Caving Non Club (of which no one is a member) into this resurgence, no more than six feet from the road, in May.  Jeff reached a sump in early July at the end of 1,800 feet of impressive streamway. Spurred on by Martyn Farr's visit of the 10th, he dived the 15' deep by 50' long sump and named the newly discovered passage beyond "Far Out Passage".  Our object was to explore down this passage, which Jeff had been content to observe from the sump.  All six dived successfully, a good first dive for Paddy and Sue, and passed up the streamway in a good sized passage.  Unfortunately, after 1,300 feet the passage closed down, the stream disappearing in a tight rift.  We explored the bedding planes &c. in this zone and found one passable way on if dug.

Meanwhile, M.F. and Dave returned to pick up bottles to a static sump for 160 feet without surfacing, by which time they were back in the flowing water of the streamway.  1,300 did not seem much to the Irish, but it certainly impressed us English!  Incidentally, the rough survey suggests that this is NOT Reyfad resurgence, as was originally thought.

11.7.76. Cascades Cave (Prods Resurgence) Fermanagh. Irish Caving Non Club and Martin Farr, Dave Morris, Pete Lord and Sue Jordan.

Grand trip through resurgence dig; dug in April '76 to reach impressive stream passage reached at Easter via prods by M. F.

Entrance is sixty feet above the Cascades in Marble Arch Valley.  Twenty feet of loose boulders leads into 1,000' of fairly accessible 'hands and knees' and crouching rifts and boulder chokes - interesting route finding.

Upstream, there is 3,000' of impressive main stream as far as Prod's Sump 7 with high aven but few inlets and a great variety of passage shapes - mainly phreatic roofing.  A 1,000' sump by-pass in a fair sized rift ending in a bedding plane crawl on upstream end.

Between sumps 7 and 6, there is a further 1,000' of passage of fine Irish quality, except that we did not see much in our sub-group, with two lights between four of us. Fortunately, we met the photographers early on the return trip, with the carbide stores.

Other trips from the log.

19.9.76.  Great Oones Hole.  Graham Wilton-Jones and Wig.  Digging in entrance with Trat and Co. for archaeological objects.  Wig was late, then he lost his presence of mind and couldn’t find the right place in the cliff above.  Went inside and explored whole hole.  Also did Long Hole where the bats are believed to be of that rare species - Greater Horseshoe.  G.W-J.

18.9.76.  St. Cuthbert’s. Graham Wilton-Jones, John Dukes, Andy Sparrow.

Trip to investigate supposed passage above Gour Hall.  Climbed and Jumared up fixed rope to the top, about 60' above the Great Gour.  Passage in opposite wall does not exist.  There is, however, a small hole above the end of the fixed rope that may pay bolting into.

10.11.76. Trip to Lyme Regis and Isle of Portland.  Bob X, Nigel Taylor and Chris Hannam.

Entrance to Blacknor Cave was visited.  Entry involves an abseil of about 60' and a swing.  Portland is best described as a mess!


Monthly Crossword – Number 70




















































































1. Often followed by pot – not necessarily in a cave. (7)
5. This has locks usually above ground, but just water in a cave. (5)
7. Somehow to rot gold in Swildons. (3,6)
8. Landscape feature composed of southern fish. (5)
9. Blocking up, not swearing, sometimes practised in caves. (7)


2. Bloke or agricultural holding Mendip cave. (5,4)
3. Scout op.  1 across in Cuthbert’s. (7)
4. A trip where the entrance is not the exit. (7)
5. Puts E.C., V.D.P. etc. (5)
6. Showcaves are, and cavers occasionally. (3,2).

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword




















































































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

Spares                               T. LARGE,  Address already given


The post of Membership Secretary has now been discontinued and all correspondence previously dealt with by the membership secretary should now be sent to Mike Wheadon.

Contributions to the Belfry Bulletin, including those from officers of the club do not necessarily represent the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the editor, unless specifically stated as being such




False Arithmetic

The annual publication of the list of club members is usually taken by your editor as an occasion for some form of comment, and this year is no exception.

A few years back, we had occasion to double the sub.  We needed to increase it to catch up with rising costs, and the argument which prevailed at the time was that it was better to get the increase over with for some time to come all at once, rather than do it in dribs and drabs.

This dramatic increase had the effect of causing a number of older members to leave the club.  I heard it  said quite recently that in the long term this turned out to have done no harm, since the total membership was now back to what it had been.

What the man who said this had forgotten was that each semi-permanent older member is worth about two and a half new members in terms of guaranteed future subs.  The reason is that 10 older members will still most likely all be there in, say, five year’s time - whereas 10 new members will have reduced to 3 or so in the same period.  It thus needs about 25 new members to yield the same total sub over about ten years that you would expect to get from 10 older and more permanent members.

Even this is not the whole story.  If 10 older members leave suddenly, the total goes down by 10 but within about three years it will have climbed back to where it had been without any increase in new members.  This is, in fact, exactly what has occurred.  An estimate of the losses in subs due to older members leaving when the sub was doubled gives a total to date of about 50 annual subs - and shows clearly that dramatic increases are not the right; way to cope with rising costs. The present committee realises this, and the increase in the annual sub announced for next year is only that which is strictly necessary to cope with genuine increases - like insurance.


People who prophesied that we would never get a team to run the B.B. are - so far - being proved wrong. Six pages of this B.B. have been produced by hands other than my own (our Hon. Sec., doubling as Deputy Editor) while already the essential supplies of stationery are beginning to flow, thanks to our Hon. Treasurer doubling as B.B. Stationery Supplies.  In addition, rumour has it that Andy Sparrow is collecting a vast pile of manuscript while our new printer:- Alan Kennett, shortly to be known as Caxton - is well on the way to printing future B.B.’s.  Even more encouraging is the fact that all this activity has spurred on a number of club members to start making contributions to the B.B.  Some of the results will be found in this edition.  If all continues to go well, we will climb rapidly out of the nasty mess we have lately been in up to our necks.


One of the first things which the new team (with the help of the audience at the last committee meeting) have decided is to change the format of the B.B. from its present A5 size to A4 starting in January.  I am pleased to be able to announce this, as I have a very slight preference for the present size.  In case you think I have got something wrong, I must explain that what pleases me is not so much the actual change as the fact that it emphasises that the B.B. is being run by a team not by me plus a lot of assistants.  Barrie is going to produce the new cover.  One way and another, it looks as if we might be off to a good start in 1977.



Pippikin Pot

Yet another episode in the career of Graham Wilton-Jones (who sent in this account) and Bucket Tilbury.

I must start this account with many thanks, once again to Fred, who booked this trip; lent us equipment so that we didn't have to leave our own in the Northern wastes, and fed us in true hospitable Lancashire fashion.  All this - and yet he could not join us on the trip himself.

The evening before, which also happened to be Halloween.  Bucket and I warmed up with a stroll over the infamous, witch-ridden Pendle Hill.  It was intended to be a daytime walk but we didn't start until 4 p.m.  The moon was up, but the hags were obviously saving their evil energies for the morrow.  Not having been smitten down with curses, we had no excuse not to descend Pippikin, so we got to bed relatively early that night.

At five o'clock on the Sunday morning we were astir.  We reached Leck Fell in an unbelievable, also unmentionable record time, just as dawn was approaching.  We changed to the sound of grouse wakening all round us, and the lights of Lancaster and Blackpool twinkling far away.  We crept through the yard of Leck Fell House, unfortunately waking the dog, and off the slopes of Bragareth towards Easegill.  By now it was full daylight and the Lake District was clearly visible.  Rabbits scuttled off through the heather undoubtedly surprised by our presence on their fell during their breakfast.

Instead of clipping his figure-of-eight to a krab, Bucket had tied it on with perlon’s so that it wouldn’t clank and wake the farmer.  It fell off.  This time he tied it ‘securely.’  It fell off again, and we spent a futile hour searching for it, disturbing all the grouse, rabbits and sheep of Westmorland.  Eventually we descended without the figure-of-eight and, needless to say, I didn't trust any of Bucket's knots.

We used S.R.T. for the whole trip, although it would be usual to ladder such short pitches.  The value of S.R.T. in such a system is debateable. We took 180ft of rope instead of seven ladders, which is a great saving in space and weight, but we also had harness and abseil/prussick gear, which often had to be taken off in confined spaces and put back under similar conditions between the pitches.  The first pitch from the surface is an easy 20' belayed to an obvious flake.  The traverse over Cellar Pot has been made safe with a wooden beam and a fence post and then comes the first awkward bit.  Awkward, because you emerge feet first over a drop and spend ages groping for footholds.  The window into the next drop is easy, until you have to return - when it's six feet above the floor with practically nothing to push against.  The constrictions before the next pitch are also interesting.  Like the window, there is nothing to push against the return - reminiscent of Primrose Squeeze.  Furthermore, the widest part of these rift squeezes is part way up, and the tendency is to drop down into the narrow section.  With legs beating the air six feet up in space, these squeezes could be said to be technically difficult. The belay for the next pitch is a beautiful mini-acrow, but the third pitch hangers are both lethally loose on the bolts.  We could have done with a spanner.  The wriggle forward at the base of the third pitch must have been quite something once upon a time, but it has been blasted now and is non-existent.  In the rope climb, there is a superbly placed stemple, making this considerably easier also. I wrapped a wire tether round the obvious place for the fourth pitch, and backed this up to the rope from the climb above.  At last we were down to the stream.

Had we known it, we could have left our S.R.T. gear, at this point, since the 5th and 6th pitches are free climbable, especially with the aid of ropes.  The awkward climb into a pool has been made easy with a few permanent nylon slings.

None of the entrance series is particularly tight, but several sections, particularly on the return journey, are awkward and time-consuming.  We were glad to reach the end of the pitches and move more freely down the widening though tightly twisting streamway.  At the streamway choke we climbed into the Hall of Ten. This is not the massive passage the book suggests, but does seem large after the entrance series.  It is part of a long, ancient phreatic section that has been largely in-filled with deposits of sand, mud or pebbles.  At this point, the infill is sand and the much more recent streamway has cut underneath the old phreatic passage, causing it to collapse and washing away the infill.  We followed the old passage northwards, through wide, low places where the deposits of sand nearly reach the roof, to Dusty Junction.  In some parts, where damage from passing cavers was less, the layering was quite clear in the deposits and white powdery crystals had appeared between each layer.

We moved on from Dusty Junction to Red Well Chamber.  At first, the infill is large rounded pebbles covered in the same white deposit, but this soon changes to a hard compacted sandstone.  The passages here are higher but narrower, with much collapse. Lacking time, we decided to look only at the larger passages, so we returned to the Hall of Ten and headed southwards.  Turning left into a very old ox-bow, we reached the Hall of the Mountain King. One slope down this is similar to, but not as bad as, the mud flow in G.B.  Once, it must have looked quite impressive but cavers have walked, squelched and slid all over it, ruining it.  Far too few cavers seem to appreciate floor formations, and the scientific value of undisturbed floor deposits.

Having covered ourselves in mud, we realized the significance of the name 'Wellington Boot Traverse'.  Had we used this route, we would not have been coated in the revolting ooze.  We quickly visited the remarkable Hall of the Damned where massive avens soar above, and then went back to the main route, not wishing to take the grovel that continues from there.  The route to Gour Hall is wide and low, often a stoop and occasionally a crawl.  The formations are good, especially the stalagmites, although many of these, and the final gours have suffered unnecessarily from careless cavers.  We were surprised by the amount of crawling involved, having originally been under the false impression that lower Pippikin was huge.

The journey out was fairly easy, since we were only the rigging party.  We met the de-rigging party of four at the fifthy pitch.  One of them had found bucket’s descendeur in the middle of a field.  Bucket was pleased, but finder was not, because he'd just sold it for a couple of pints of beer!  By mid afternoon, we had reached the surface and the sunshine.  Unusual for us as we’re normally out way after dark from these northern trips.

If we go to Pippikin again, we'll try the lower entrance - the Mistral.  If you fancy a good, hard, interesting trip, then you're invited. Perhaps I ought to mention that the Mistral is only 60 feet long and 35 feet deep - but it's Grade IV (Severe)

Any Takers?

Editor's Note:     Graham says in the above that 'Far too few cavers seem to appreciate floor formations.'  On my first trip into Hilliers, the weekend after its initial introduction to cavers, I found a really amazing floor formation.  Stal had flowed down a wall, reached the mud floor, and spread over it like huge fingers - each one over afoot in length and only a quarter of an inch or so thick.  The underlying mud had subsequently been washed away, leaving these huge fingers sticking out completely unsupported from the wall.  Luckily, I thought, this formation is likely to survive because it is not on the caver’s route along the passage, it can be seen in plenty of time to avoid accidental damage, and the wall behind it is solid and does not lead anywhere.

Two weeks later, when the cave was now three weeks old as far as cavers were concerned, I visited the place again with a camera and a party from the B.E.C, who were looking forward - apart from seeing the rest of the cave ¬to this unusual formation.  We reached the spot and gazed upon the smashed fragments.  The boot marks of the vandal who had indulged his perversion for a few seconds of presumed pleasure could be clearly seen in the floor.

It could not have been carelessness.  It was sheer, wanton destruction for its own sake.  No wonder that cave photography has near enough disappeared as a branch of general caving.

Secretarial Note - Membership

As an addendum to this year's membership list I think that I should point out that NO reminders were sent out to members in 1976 and as a consequence there are probably a few would be members whose names do not appear despite their desire to continue as club members.  We will be circulating these members individually and will waiver the need for them to re-apply for membership if they wish to continue.  Additionally there are: -

Peter Lord- Same address as Sue - who has applied for joint membership following their marriage.

JohnTurner - 92 Church Lane, Backwell - who left on an expedition to the Himalayas before he had time to pay a subscription.


Bristol Exploration Club - Membership List October 1976


Nicolette Abell

Michaelmas Cottage, Faulkland, Bath


T. Andrews

43 Portway, Wells, Somerset

20 L

Bob Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol, Avon

392 L

Mike Baker

22 Riverside Walk, Midsomer Norton, Bath, Avon


M.D. Barker

44 Cedar Drive, Kingsclere, Nr. Newbury, Berks


M. Barker

44 Cedar Drive, Kingsclere, Nr. Newbury, Berks


Richard Barker

44 Croxteth Road, Liverpool


Arthur Ball

4 Charlotte Street, Cheadle, Cheshire


Marlon Barlow

93 Norton Drove, Norton Tower, Halifax, West Yorkshire


Chris Batstone

8 Prospect Place, Bathford, Bath, Avon

390 L

Joan Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol

214 L

Roy Bennett

8 Radnor Road, Wesbury-on-Trym, Bristol


Glenys Beszant

190 Hinkler Road, Thornhill, Southampton.


Bob Bidmead

63 Cassell Road, Fishponds, Bristol


Martin Bishop

Bishops Cottage, Priddy


E. Bishop

Bishops Cottage, Priddy

336 L

Alan Bonner

Crags Farm Close, Little Broughton, Cokermouth, Cumberland

145 L

Sybil Bowden-Lyle

9 Beverley Close, Crithill Park, Frome, Somerset


Brian Bowers

44 Manor Way, Bagshot, Surrey


D. Bradshaw

37 Creswicke Road, Knowle, Bristol 4

751 L

T.A. Brookes

87 Wyatt Road, London, SW2


Neil Raynor Brown

25 Lingfield Park, Evesham, Worcs.


Viv Brown

3 Cross Street, Kingswood, Bristol


Tessa Burt

66 Roundwood Lane, Harpendon, Herts


Alan Butcher

17 Cedar Grove, Pennfields, Wolverhampton


Ian Calder

Plas Pencelli, Pencelli, Brecon


Penelope Calder

Plas Pencelli, Pencelli, Brecon


C. Chambers

35 Newbridge Road, Bath


Paul Christie

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


Patricia Christie

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


Colin Clark

186 Cranbrook Road, Redland, Bristol


M. Clarke

62 Calabria Road, Highbury, London, N5

211 L

Clare Coase

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

89 L

Alfie Collins

Lavendar Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr Bristol, Somerset

377 L

D. Cooke-Yarborough

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


Bob Cork

22 Dennor Road, Hengrove, Bristol 4


Tony Corrigan

48 Talbot Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


Mike Cowlishaw

14 Plovers Down, Olivers Battery, Winchester


Jerry Crick

2 Coneacre, Chersey Road, Windlesham, Surrey


P. Cronin

38 Jubilee Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


Bob Cross

42 Bayham Road, Knowle, Bristol


Gary Cullen

47 Eversfield Road, Horsham, Sussex

405 L

Frank Darbon

PO Box 325, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

423 L

Len Dawes

The Lodge, Main Street, Minster Matlock, Derbyshire


Garth Dell

5 Hillground Road, Withywood, Bristol


J. Dibben

17 Neville Road, Bramshall, Stockport, Cheshire


Colin Dooley

51 Osmaston Road, Harbourne, Birmingham 7


Angela Dooley

51 Osmaston Road, Harbourne, Birmingham 7

164 L

Ken Dobbs

85 Fox Rd., Beacon Heath, Exeter, Devon


John Dukes

4 Springford Crescent, Lordswood, Southampton


Michael Durham

11 Catherine Place, Bath


S. Durston

7 Estuary Park, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset


Jim Durston

7 Estuary Park, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset


P. Eckford

80 Wilton Gardens, Shirley, Southampton

322 L

Bryan Ellis

7 School Lane, Combwich, Bridgwater, Somerset

269 L

Tom Fletcher

11 Cow Lane, Bramcote, Nottingham.


Phil Ford

45 Gentwood Road, Huyton, Lancs.

404 L

Albert Francis

22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset


Joyce Franklin

16 Glen Drive, Stoke Bishop, Bristol


Pete Franklin

16 Glen Drive, Stoke Bishop, Bristol


Keith Franklin

42 Anne street, Dandenong, Victoria, Australia


A. Garrod

2 Spring Rise, Wells, Somerset


Leonard Gee

15 Warren Close, Denton, Manchester


Stan Gee

26 Parsonage Street, Heaton Norris, Stockport.


N. George

Homestead Gardens Cottage, Wookey Hole, Somerset


Bob Givens

Newstead Lodge, 1 Fields Green, Crawley, Sussex


E.M. Glanville

Jocelyn House Mews, Chard, Somerset


Bruce Glocking

213 St. Leonards, Horsham, Sussex


Martin Grass

14 Westlea Road, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts


Christine Greenhall

Collingwood Road, Redland, Bristol 6


Chris Hall

2 Upper Radford, Paulton, Bristol

432 L

Nigel Hallet

62 Cranbrook Road, Bristol

104 L

Mervyn Hannam

14 Inskip Place, St Annes, Lancashire

304 L

C.W. Harris

The Diocesan Registry, Wells, Somerset

4 L

Dan Hassell

Hill House, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset


Dave Hatherley

4 Spring Rise, Wells


A.P. Hicks

3 Regency Drive, Brislington, Bristol


A. Higginbottom

Warana, Hill Lea Gardens, Cheddar, Somerset


John Hildrick

Tarngulla, Old Bristol Road, Priddy


Rodney Hobbs

Rose Cottage, Nailsea


Sid Hobbs

Hokestone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy


Sylvia Hobbs

Hokestone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy


Mike Hogg

32 Birchley Heath, Nuneaton, Warks


Liz Hollis

1 Bugle Cottage, Milborne Wick, Nr Sherborne, Dorset


Tony Hollis

1 Bugle Cottage, Milborne Wick, Nr Sherborne, Dorset

387 L

George Honey

Droppsta, 19044, Odensala, Sweden


J.H. Hookings

32 Churchill Road, Catshill, Bromsgrove, Worcs.


Ted Humphreys

9 Mounters Close, Marnhull, Sturminster Newton, Dorset


J.A. Hunt

35 Conygre Road, Filton, Bristol


B. Husband

244 Oak Road, West Bromwich, West Midlands


P. Ifold

The Cedars, Blackford, Nr. Wedmore, Cheddar


Maurise Iles

Waterworks Cottage, Gurmney Slade, Bath


Angus Innes

18 David’s Close, Alveston, Bristol, Aven


Margaret Innes

18 David’s Close, Alveston, Bristol, Aven

540 L

Dave Irwin

Townsend Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Somerset


N. Jago

27 Quantock Road, Windmill Hill, Bristol 3


Ken James



Russ Jenkins

10, Amberley Close, Downend, Bristol

51 L

A Johnson

Warren Cottage, Station Rd., Flax Bourton, Bristol

560 L

Frank Jones

103 Wookey Hole Road, Wells, Somerset


U. Jones

Marsh Farm, Askem in Furness, Lancs.

567 L

Alan Kennett

92 West Broadway, Henleaze, Bristol


John King

4 Nightingale Road, Langley Green, Crawley, Sussex

316 L

Kangy King

22 Parkfield Rank, Pucklechurch, Bristol, Avon

542 L

Phil Kingston

257 Pemona Street, Invercargill, New Zealand

413 L

R. Kitchen

Overcombe, Horrabridge, Yelverton, Devon


J.M. Knopps

5 Kingsfield, Kingsway, Bath


Dave Lampard

Woodpeckers, 11 Springfield Park Road, Horsham, Sussex

667 L

Tim Large

72 Lower Whitesands, Radstock


Peter Leigh

17 Northampton Road, Ecton, Northants.

574 L

Oliver Lloyd

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


S. Lord

Greengates School, Apparto Postal 41-659, Mexico 10, DF


George Lucy

Pike Croft, Long Lane, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks

495 L

Val Luckwill

8 Greenslade Road, Sedgeley hill, Dudley, Worcs.


M.J. McCarthy

26 Elgin Park (Flat 5) Redland, Bristol


T.A. McDonagh

Poole Meadow, West End, Gloucester


D. McFarlane

24 Greenbank Gardens, Wallington, Fareham, Hants.

550 L

R A MacGregor

12 Douro Close, Baughurst, Basingstoke, Hants


A. McRory-Peace

5 Colmer Road, Yeovil Somerset


I.K. Marshall

4 Kings Drive, Bishopston, Bristol


I. Marshall

7 Fairacre Close, Lockleaze, Bristol

106 L

E.J. Mason

33 Bradleys Avenue, Henleaze, Bristol

558 L

Tony Meaden

Highcroft, Westbury, Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset


John Noble

15 Nash Close, Keynsham, Bristol


Graham Nye

7 Ramsey Road, Horsham, Surrey


J. Orr

8 Wellington Terrace, Winklebury, Basingstoke, Hants


P.A. Palfree

10 Maynard, Clutton, Nr. Bristol

396 L

Mike Palmer

27 Roman Way, Paulton, Nr. Bristol


J. Pearce

23 Tiverton Drive, New Eltham, London, SE9

22 L

Les Peters

21 Melbury Rd., Knowle Park, Bristol Avon

499 L

Tony Philpott

3 Kings Drive, Bishopston, Bristol, Avon


Graham Phippen

Rock Cottage, Rock Road, Wick, Bristol


Brian Prewer

East View, West Horrington, Wells, Somerset


Jeff Price

18 Hurston Road, Inns Court, Bristol


Colin Priddle

10 Franklyn Flats, Kopje Road, Gwelo, Rhodesia

481 L

John Ransom

21 Bradley Rd., Patchway, Bristol, Avon

452 L

Pam Rees

c/o The Belfry

343 L

A Rich

Box 126, Basham, Alberta Canada

672 L

R Richards

PO Box 141, Jacobs, Natal, South Africa


J. Rigler

Beck Hall, 16/26 Sketty Road, Uplands, Swansea


K.E. Roebuck

P.O.’s Mess, HMS Daedalus, Lee on Solent, Hants.


Roger Sabido

163 Cold Harbour Road, Bristol 6

240 L

Alan Sandall

43 Meadway Ave., Nailsea, Avon

359 L

Carol Sandall

43 Meadway Ave., Nailsea, Avon

237 L

B. Scott

Merrymead, Havestock Road, Winchester Hants


Gordon Selby

2 Dodd Avenue, Wells, Somerset

78 L

R.A. Setterington

4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset

213 L

R. Setterington

4 Cavendish Road, Chiswick, London W4


A.O. Sharp

33 Hamilton Road, Motherwell, Strathclyde.


Mark Sherman

Wood View, Grey Field, High Litton


N. Shott

Westwood College of Education, Bristol Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham


A. Simpson

30 Channel heights, Bleadon Hill, Weston-super-Mare


M.B. Slade

230 Southampton Road, Reading, Berks.


Dave Smith

14 Severn Way, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks.


Andy Sparrow

30 Green Park, Bath


Maurice Stafford

28 Rowan Close, Sonning Common, Reading, Berks.

1 L

Harry Stanbury

31 Belvoir Road, St. Andrews, Bristol


Mrs I Stanbury

74 Redcatch, Knowle, Bristol


G. Standring

71 Vienna Road, Edgeley, Stockport, Chester

575 L

D. Statham

The Bungallow, North Barrow, Yeovil, Somerset

365 L

Roger Stenner

38 Paulton Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


Richard Stevenson

Greystones, Priddy


Paul Stokes

32 Manor Way, Bagshot, Surrey


Derek Targett

16 Phyllis Hill, Midsomer Norton


Nigel Taylor

Whidden Farm, Chilcote, Nr. Wells, Somerset

284 L

Allan Thomas

Allens House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Somerset

348 L

D Thomas

Lower Lodge, Bartlestree, Hereford

571 L

N Thomas

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


Buckett Tilbury

256 Cressex Road, High Wycombe, Bucks


Anne Tilbury

256 Cressex Road, High Wycombe, Bucks


Roger Toms

18 Hoton Road, Wysemold, Leicester


R.S. Toms

18 Hoton Road, Wysemold, Leicester


J.M. Postle Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex

74 L

M.J. Dizzie Tompsett

11 Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex

381 L

Daphne Towler

7 Ross Close, Nyetimber, Bognor Regis, Sussex

157 L

Jill Tuck

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


Steve Tuck

3 Colles Close, Wells, Somerset


Tony Tucker

75 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock, Avon


Sue Tucker

75 Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock, Avon


Dave Turner

Moonrakers, Brewery Lane, Holcombe, Bath


P. Turner

11 Harper Court, Honnington, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire


M.F. Turley

13 Gresham Walk, Tilgate, Crawley, Sussex

635 L

S. Tuttlebury

28 Butts Road, Alton, Hants.


Greg Villis

The Oaks, Round Oak Road, Cheddar, Somerset

175 L

D. Waddon

32 Laxton Close, Taunton, Somerset


Mike Wheadon

91 The Oval, Bath


Maureen Wheadon

91 The Oval, Bath


Bob White

Weavers Farm, Binegar


Ross White

30 Curley Hill Road, Lightwater, Surrey.


J. Widley

15 Minster Way, Bath


Barry Wilton

Valley View, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol


Brenda Wilton

Valley View, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol


Graham Wilton-Jones

Ileana, Stenfield Road, Nap Hill, High Wycombe, Bucks


Annie Wilton-Jones

6 Meadow Road, Withyall, Birmingham


Ian Wilton-Jones

6 Meadow Road, Withyall, Birmingham


Steve Woolven

21 Three Acres, Horsham, Sussex


An Unusual Ascent of the Scafell Pikes

Continued from last month's B.B.

Readers of last month's B.B. will recall that we left BOB CROSS on the top of Scafell Pike, England's loftiest spot.  We hope he has not got too cold by now, and you will be able to read how he gets down again.

One look at the mighty cairn, and you would swear MacAlpine's boys had built it.  Standing at this point, our eyes were drawn down the entire length of Borrowdale over Derwentwater and beyond to the majestic peaks of Skiddaw (3,054') and Blencathra (2,847').  Eastwards, we could see Bowfell, the Langdales and way beyond Windermere the broad mass of the Pennines with Great Coum, LeckFell and Ingleborough. In my opinion, however, the Pike does not give exceptional views.  Its neighbours, Great Gable and Bowfell both give better ones.

A mile and a half of rough going in a North-easterly direction brought us to Great End (2,9B4'). From here it was easy downhill going all the way via Esk Hause (it is pronounced 'house') to Angle Tarn.

Esk Hause is the name given to the col between Great End and Esk Pike and it carries the paths between Borrowdale and Eskdale.  Between Esk Hause and Allen Crags and about a hundred and fifty feet lower, runs the N.W./S.E. path between Langdale and Wastdale.  The crossroads are an old route centre for pack mules and are well marked on the ground.   Close by there are iron rings set into flat boulders that were once used for tethering mules.

At Angle Tarn, we noted a couple of tents pitched at the popular spot by the outfall.  A short ascent brought us to the head of Rossitt Gill, a feature of Lakeland I particularly dislike.  Up until now, I had been ignorant of the existence of an alternative, but Mike showed me an old mule track that branches Southwards under Bowfell, eventually reaching head of Mickleden on the south side of Rossitt Gill. I was glad of this bit of information and soon discovered a more gentle and comfortable descent.

Our last two miles lay along the wide strath of Mickleden to the Dungeon Gill Hotel and over Great Langdal Beck to the campsite.  Our walk had taken us up 5,500 ft of ascent and 12 miles in seven hours.


AGM ‘76

A different (and, in the editor's humble opinion, much more readable) account of that annual ritual - the A.G.M. - than is to be found in the official minutes!

by Maureen Wheadon

For many years now, M.F.W. has disappeared over the horizon each first Saturday in October, claiming that he was going to the B.E.C. A.G.M., and not returning until darkness had fallen.

I had naturally thought this a very unlikely and suspicious ritual.  After all, what A.G.M. could possibly take that much time?  I have attended some extremely turgid A.G.M.'s and, at the most, they only took about an hour and a half.  After all, they only elect officers and receive reports - and our election is carried out before the A.G.M!  Anyway, this year I decided to go and see for myself if the B.E.C. really did indulge in such lengthy meetings.

We (my joint member and I) set out at an ungodly hour - or so it seemed to me, who never sees the dawn before 9.30 a.m. - and, as I was driven through the fog, I found it hard to recall whether I was going to a cat show, a conference, or why I was even awake. At intervals through the A.G.M., this feeling was to recur as the debate waxed and waned.  To my amazement (even yet!) we were not the first to arrive at the Belfry and the number of B.E.C. bods, some not seen for several years, who were rattling round the shed was equally amazing.  Preparation of bread and cheese for lunch were well under way, and Roger soon appeared with the brunch barrel which was left to settle (which is more that can be said for the members!)

Amazingly, the meeting opened at 10.30. - on time - and in the absence of any other nomination, Sett was once again (I’m told) elected as Chairman for the day.  This absence of nominations likewise applied to the committee for, although there were two resignations last year, only Paul Christie was nominated for this year and was elected unopposed.  Without maligning Paul, who is very brave to apply for the committee, I think that this is a sad state of affairs which has, now, existed for the last two years so pull your fingers out, fellas and be sure to send in your nominations next year - for if you don't know someone worth nominating we’ll try a dose of petticoat government!

The first Officer's Report was the Hon. Sec's and M.F.W. gave a credible impersonation of a political leader by declaring a year of doom and gloom if we don't pull together and miss our chance of greatness etc., but if we believe in our club, we can make it if we try.

The Hon. Treasurer then shattered this portent by revealing that, unlike the country, the club is in the embarrassing position of having quite a lot of available cash.  However, the A.G.M. were able to meet this event head-on and instantly directed that we should install central heating not, it should be noted, to keep us warm and snug but to 'preserve our assets'.  Orang then gave a brilliant though baffling "display of heating and ventilating engineering knowledge (and jargon) by minutely discussing with the chairman such magic items as dew point and the like all of which I found quite forgettable.

Next to report was the Hut Warden, who gave by far the funniest report of the day but which revealed to us that all was not well in 'Belfryland'.  The report of the Tacklemaster was baffling to the uninitiated, and there was a bit of a fracas to do with 'C' links and Englefield Clips. Voices were raised and 'order' occasionally lost.  All was made right in the end when the chairman pointed out that the 'chain should be pulled to a hundredweight.'

The Hut Engineer gave his report, in a a rather cavalier and unwritten form, rather in the fashion of TW Benn fairyland. The report was received with what I gather to be the usual complaints (because we have heard them year after year after year) and, as a non Belfry resident, it certainly does seem that there are an awful lot of small jobs needing to be done at the Belfry.  Bob Cross's fear of sleeping in the Men’s Dorm because of his suspicion of the mattresses emphasised some of the difficulties (is there a Latin name for this fear?)

After quite an efficient lunch, we were treated to a very full account of the insurance offered to us, with visual aids from the Bennetts, Wig giving the treatise, and Bob White filling in any gaps.  This was probably the most important feature of the A.G.M. and had been much discussed by the committee beforehand.  Unfortunately, during the presentation of this item there was much to-ing and fro-ing in the Belfry and the added distraction of a rogue barrel of beer didn't help.  This did not affect my understanding of the situation because I had already heard most of the reasons during many hours on the side lines of the committee's debates on the matter.  However, I have since been made aware that many members were left in the 'not fully understanding' position that we had no real options open to us unless the club was prepared to pay a 'fantastic' membership fee.  Perhaps at a more formal meeting, some of the red herrings would have been out of order, but it is to be hoped that we known we now have to pay a sum based on our membership, at a rate fixed by the insurance companies.

After this debate, our revered editor outlined the terrible tales of ills that beset the B.B. last year, and suggested a team to produce a regular monthly B.B. in future, which was finally agreed to.  Some have since said that this will only mean there are more places things can go wrong, but I think we should give it a chance at least.

By now, you will know that the B.E.C. A.G.M. really DOES take hours and hours.  Eventually the meeting closed at ten to four (Just enough time to go home and change for the dinner).  Would you believe it?  If not, come along yourself next year and take part in this unique entertainment!



Members of the B.E.C. still meet in Bristol!  The meeting place has been recently changed BACK to the Seven Stars (behind the Robinson building by Bristol Bridge).  Although only about half a dozen 'regulars' are to be found there on a Thursday evening, they would like other club members to know that anyone who happens to be in Bristol on a Thursday is always very welcome to drop into the Seven Stars and buy them a pint!


Members will find a questionnaire on the Club Dinner sent to them with this B.B.  It explains itself, but the committee would like as many people as possible to get their completed questionnaires back into the hands of any committee member BEFORE CHRISTMAS.  This will give the committee a chance to sift through them and pick out the points which members would like to see put into effect BEFORE the January meeting of the committee, at which the results will be discussed.


Anyone who has any access to supplies of A4 size paper suitable for printing the B.B. on, and at less cost than standard prices would be doing the club a great service if he or she could let Barrie or Alfie know about how much they can produce and at what price.


There will be a working weekend on December 18/19 (the weekend before Christmas) this year. Anyone who can lend a hand should turn up and preferably contact John can plan what can be done.


Monthly Crossword – Number 69



1. Appropriate word for Mendip swallet. (5)
6. Harder if tight includes this cave feature. (4)
7. And pushing our system will reveal another. (5)
8. Fell, up north. (4)
10. Cave surveyor can make this. (5)
11. If heavy, can be dangerous in some caves. (4)
13. Poles differently inclined in caves? (5)
14. Scheme to produce survey? (4)
15. Employing. (5)


2. Upper part of cave. (4)
3. A lifeline may take this. (6)
4. 5 across cab be this. (5)
5. Floor deposit found in Goughs? (5)
8. Lashes rock found on Mendip. (6)
9. Found in Stoke Lane I. (5)
10. Rope material. (5)
12. No access problem with this type of cave. (4)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword



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

Spares                               T. LARGE,  Address already given


The post of Membership Secretary has now been discontinued and all correspondence previously dealt with by the membership secretary should now be sent to Mike Wheadon.

Contributions to the Belfry Bulletin, including those from officers of the club do not necessarily represent the views of the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the editor, unless specifically stated as being such



Happy New Year

A belated greeting to all readers of the B.B., and good caving or climbing in 1977.

New Disguise

For the sixth time during its life, the B.B. has changed its shape.  We reckon that the bookshelves of older members must present a motley appearance by now as the B.B. has been Foolscap (13"x8") Quarto (10"x8") Sixmo (8"x5") back to Quarto again, A5 (8¼" x 5⅞") and now A4 (11¾" x 8¼").   What we lose in thickness we gain in page size, and we will do a few experiments during the year to see how best to take advantage of the new sized pages. For example, we are now saving some paper (whilst  going back to having covers) by printing the list of club officials on the inside of the front cover (not on this re-print) and the monthly crossword enlarged in size.


The B.B. team is making steady rather than spectacular progress.  Alan Kennett is now, conversant with the printing process; Barrie has the supplies well in hand; Mike continues to take some of the work of preparing masters, and Andy is twisting people's arms for articles.

We are not yet in the happy position of being able to print pages of the B.B. ahead of time, but, the signs continue to suggest that this time may not be far away.

Committee Problems

Two subjects which the committee must get sorted out as soon as possible are the dinner (and thanks should go to all those who sent back questionnaires) and the installation (if possible) of some form of central heating.  We shall do our best to keep members up to date on both these important subjects.

Where Did Last June Go?

Readers with long memories may still be wondering what happened to the B.B. which suffered when our printing machine broke down last June.  One entire side of each of the pieces of paper had been printed before the machine wrecked the master and caused work to stop, so all this paper cannot be used for anything else.  This being so, we are planning to retype the damaged master and finish the printing of this edition of the B.B.  It will be sent to you alongside one of this years B.B. postings.  We are doing this because it will not cost any more and will at least enable those who collect B.B.'s to complete their set for last year. If it's any consolation, when you finally get last June's B.B., it will have the distinction of being the most delayed edition there has ever been.

As the slow-motion drama of the proposed changes to N.C.A. goes on, we shall try to keep members in touch with events.  As some members probably know, the Working Party, which was formed at the suggestion of the Southern Council representative on the N.C.A., has now produced its findings and, again on our suggestion, it was then agreed to give people plenty of time to think about it before N.C.A. did anything about it. N.C.A. are to hold a special meeting on this subject some time in the spring.  Needless to say, the Southern Council's own working party (which started the whole matter off in the first place) have already met to consider what they will be recommending to the Southern Council at its next meeting in February.  The C.S.C.C. delegates to the special meeting of N.C.A. will then go to this meeting fully briefed as to what aspects the Southern Council are prepared to concede, to negotiate or to stand firm on.  Obviously, these last points will be made as few as possible, as the C.S.C.C. does not wish to place any unnecessary obstacles in the way towards a final agreement. One presumes, however, that if a deadlock is reached, then the meeting will either have to find some new delaying formula or face the consequences of a breakdown.  Once again, we must hope that commonsense will prevail, and in the months between now and then, we will be keeping readers up to date, both by articles and comment of this sort, on what is going on.

Monthly Crossword

The editor will be pleased to accept crosswords in line with the new format as in this B.B. Crosswords should be 11 x 11 squares in size; have a translational or rotational symmetry pattern and contain mainly words associated with caving or climbing activities generally.  If clues are sent as well, these should be of the cryptic variety, but un-clued crosswords will be accepted.



The Hut Warden would like to remind members that CROCKERY and CUTLERY will be taken out of circulation on the 31st January for an experimental period, to see if it contributes to the tidiness of the Belfry.  Please bring your own in future!

Barrie would like to remind members that CAR BADGES are still available.  Owing to rising costs, these may well go the way of club ties in future, so if you want a car badge, NOW is the time to get hold of one.  It may soon be too late!

There are still some outstanding HUT FEES owed by some members.  Please settle as soon as possible – and don’t forget that ANNUAL SUBS are due on the 31st of Jan!


Club Insurance

by Joan Bennett.

Editor’s Note:    Joan has taken a great interest in this subject, and is probably one of the best informed members in our club.  We feel that readers, who may still be a little unsure of what it all means, will find this article to be a great help.

Joan writes, "Having been associated with, and indulged in the 'hazardous sports' of caving, mountaineering and skiing for many years, I feel very sad to have written this article, but I am afraid that it is now an established fact that many persons are prepared to bring cases regarding accidents which result in personal injury, and the damages which are awarded are often very high.  If such a case is brought by a caver against another caver, then of course, the injured party must prove negligence.  The only defence which a caver has is that he was observing the accepted caving code, and any injury was due to the nature of the sport, and must therefore be taken as one of the hazards accepted by cavers.  It is essential, therefore, that cavers at all times strictly observe the caving code and do not indulge in practices of personal self-advertisement which could result in injury to others."

Following the article by the Editor of the B.B. earlier, and the information given at the recent A.G.M., there are some members who are still somewhat unclear what the issues are, and what insurance cover they now have as members of the club.  I will do my best to throw a little light upon this rather dark subject.

As stated previously, the purpose of a club Public Liability Insurance is to protect individual members of the club from the possibility of financial loss as a result of some legal action in which damages might be awarded.  It was also stated that a member of the club 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.

The old policies (held for many years by the major Mendip clubs, who are all members of the C.S.C.C.) were similar; so much of the re-negotiation was done by on behalf of member clubs. The result of these negotiations was the premiums and cover as quoted at the A.G.M.

For members who did not attend the A.G.M., the six quoted premiums range from 30p per member per annum to £4 per member per annum.  The minimum cover, offered at 30p was for committee members and officers only against claims from non-cavers and landowners, up to £100,000.  The £4 premium covered all club members against claims from members, other cavers, non-cavers and landowners up to £100,000 – in other words, the cover which we enjoyed under the old policy.  The only snag about continuing to enjoy this extensive cover was that the total premium, which was £66 in the 1975/76 financial year, would be increased to something in the region of £720 for next year.  This was felt by practically everybody to be completely out of court, and was not really seriously considered.

The Committee therefore recommended that the club accept the policy which covered all club members and guests against claims from non-cavers and landowners up to a maximum of £250,000 - at a premium to the club of 61p per member per annum. Assuming a membership of 180, this means an annual premium of approximately £110, that is, a rise of £44 or 66%.

'This particular line was recommended by the committee as covering the members for claims which they could not reasonably be able to cover for themselves for their own personal public liability.  This would include any claim for negligence brought against a member either by another member or by another caver.  In other words, the negligence of a member against another caver is his own responsibility and the member will not be insured against such a claim by a club policy.

Editor’s Note:    I turning over a page of Joan’s manuscript, I think I have missed out a few vital words.  If so, my apologies to Joan and I will further emphasise that the CLUB policy is designed to provide the sort of cover it would be very hard for an individual member to obtain – i.e. against non-cavers and landowners.  It DOES NOT cover claims by other members or other cavers because to do so would be very expensive AND cavers can readily obtain such cover for themselves.

The new policy for the club insurance has not yet been received from the brokers but I imagine it will be based mainly on the relevant sections of the old policy.  If, however, there are any special points, they will be brought to the attention of members.

According to the brokers, the relevant definitions are:-

a)      NON-CAVERS – Persons not engaged in caving or similar activities, i.e. members of the general public.

b)      LANDOWNERS – People who own, or are tenants of land under which there are caves.  This cover also includes an indemnity to landowners against claims made against them arising out of caving activities of the insured club.  This indemnity only applies, however, where it is required by an access agreement, e.g. Charterhouse Caving Committee.

c)      GUESTS - Other cavers caving with members of the insured club on a particular trip.

(These definitions are from an article by Tim Reynolds in a C.S.C.C. Newsletter.)

There are two ways by which a member can obtain personal public liability cover.  (A) if he or she has a householder's policy covering the building and/or contents of his home, then most policies will have a public liability section included.  The premium for this is either free or a fairly nominal amount but it is advisable to read the small print of the policy as it may specifically exclude certain pastimes or sports.  If no mention is made of caving in the policy, then it will be in your own interest to obtain a written statement from either the insurance company or broker that it does in fact cover your caving activities.  (B) If a member does not have such a policy, then he may obtain a specific personal public liability insurance.  The best way to do this is to approach a good broker.  If your own broker is unable to obtain cover, Bob White will help in this matter,            as he has a great deal of experience in caving insurance and at least one member of the club has found that other brokers do not have this specialised knowledge and are not always willing to do the necessary research.

The committee has decided that Cuthbert’s leaders are especially vulnerable, as they are the designated the leader of the party and as such are actually in charge of the party in the cave.  All leaders, therefore, either from the B.E.C. or other clubs MUST have personal liability cover which must include caving and must go up to £250,000.  The Caving secretary has contacted all leaders on this matter.  The leaders will obviously appreciate that the club must cover itself by insisting on this insurance being held by all leaders, as any claim arising could very likely come back on the club and would be outside its insurance.

During the discussions on liability, a theory has been put forward causing a great deal of anxiety amongst Mendip cavers, that members of the club, by virtue of their membership, could be liable in the case of a claim for negligence against another member of the club not being met. We took this matter up personally with the Royal Insurance Group (our household insurers) and the company replied:

"The comments made by Mr. Bennett suggesting that the Bennetts could be held to be legally liable for damages resulting from the negligence of other members of the club would seem somewhat illogical, and we doubt whether any claim of this nature could ever be upheld unless one of the individuals was also personally negligent."  For the interest of 'caving wives', I would point out that our policy is held jointly, but that our particular policy does state that any member of the insured family permanently residing with him will be indemnified in the same terms as the insured, but again it is as well to read your own policy.

As the new schemes were hammered out by the C.S.C.C., the special position of the climbers in the B.E.C. was not mentioned.  This has been taken up by the club with the brokers, but at the time of writing nothing has been settled.  If we cannot receive any insurance cover at a reasonable premium, then we will take this matter up with the British Mountaineering Council, and we will attempt to obtain cover under their policy.  Members will be kept informed on this matter.

As the new premium will be due each year by the end of April, based on the up-to-date list of members, in future the rules of the club must be enforced and if subs are not paid by the end of April then membership ceases and you will have to re-apply.

To sum up, the club has insured members against claims brought by non-cavers and landowners, and the rest is up to you as an individual.  You must decide whether you are going to insure yourself against claims for your own negligence.  If, however, you are a Cuthbert’s Leader, then it is a condition of your leadership that a suitable insurance cover is held, and if you are a committee member it is very strongly recommended.

I have not covered any aspect of insurance other than public liability.  For other types of insurance that may be of interest to cavers, e.g. Holiday insurance (whilst caving abroad) Equipment insurance, Personal Accident etc., it is best to consult your broker.

I hope that this article has helped to clear the muddied waters, but if anyone requires any more general help, Dave Irwin or I will try to help and Bob White will give professional advice.

References:       B.B. No. 340 April/May 1976.
                        C.S.C.C. Newsletter, Summer 1976

Further Reading:N.C.A. Publication – Access to Caves, Summer 1976, Appendix G

Bob White, c/o R. White and Co., 1
4, Broad Street,
Wells, Somerset. BA5 2DN
Tel: Wells (0749) 75077.



Since the publication of the Annual Membership List, in the November BB, there are, as usual, a few amendments to Members addresses and we welcome: some new Members and the return of a few of the older ones who had overlooked their subs: -



Corrigan, A.

139 Stockwood Lane, Stockwood, Bristol.


Murray, K.

17 Harrington Gardens, London SW 7.


Wilton-Jones, I

Cwm Dwr, 110 Piers Avenue, Alton, Solihull, West Midlands


Wilton-Jones, A.

Cwm Dwr, 110 Piers Avenue, Alton, Solihull, West Midlands


Sandercott, J.

5 Eastcroft, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4PJ.


Shaw, c.

7 Queens Head, Walk, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts. EN10 6JS


Stafford, J.M.

Back Plaidy, By Turriff, Aberdeenshire.


Gage, C.

36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Somerset.


Gage, T.

36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Somerset 6JS


Stenner, R.

18 Stafford Place, Weston Super Mare.


Tuttlebury, S.A.

28 Beacon Close, Bounstone, Farnham, Surrey


Dibben, N.J.

97 Worth Clough, Poynton, Cheshire.


Dell, G.T.

A15 Printing, HQN1, BFPO 825.


Howell, C.

131 Sandon Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham 17


Ellis, B.M.

30 Main Road, Westonzoyland, Bridgwater.


New Members


Cavender, N.M.

Paradise House, Croscombe, Nr Wells, Somt.


Cavender, F.J.

Paradise House, Croscombe, Nr Wells, Somt


Knight, C.

54 Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey.


Hodgson, P.

11 Ockford Ridge, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 RNP


Ingleton, A.

Seymour Cottage, Hinton St Mary, Sturminster Newton Dorset.


It’s not so simple!

Some further thoughts on St. Cuthbert’s Swallet

by Wig

Since the discovery of Cuthbert’s II in 1969, the extension into Cuthbert’s III has defied all attempts - though some have been pretty weak tries - and odd thoughts about this have gone through my mind from time to time.  About 1968 I wrote an article in the B.B. listing all the known outlets from the Gour/ Lake Fault area in an attempt to encourage more interest to parties having a look for alternative routes.  If the leaders and their parties cared to travel at a more gentlemanly and more leisurely pace through the cave, they would be able to observe that there are many features that scream for an explanation and which might also give a clue to possible places for further extension.

Let me start at a point with which everyone is familiar - the main Streamway at Everest Junction. At this point, it is gravel floored and remains for the remainder of its route to Gour Hall.  Moving just upstream from Everest Junction, the stream bed is clearly seen, but as the gradient of the stream flattens to near horizontal, the gravel floor takes over.  This choking of the streamway continues as a gravel floor, to Stal Pitch.  Also clearly seen at Everest Junction is a pronounced tide mark at about fifteen feet above the stream level.

The lack of stalagmite in the streamway down to Stal Pitch is another clue that, in recent times, the passage has been choked, and this choking could have been caused by the existence of the banks of stalagmite at Stal Pitch.  Particular evidence of this is at the stooping section of he streamway upstream of the Dining Room entrance.  The source of the massive bank of stal at Stal Pitch is in the Rabbit Warren below the second stal bank and is not due to any inlet in the roof of the main streamway.  Furthermore, if one takes a look at the levels of the choking in both the main streamway and Cerberus Hall, they will be found to he almost identical.  In addition, they almost coincide with the levels of the lower parts of Everest Passage.

Ford has indicated that the cave has been choked up to the level of the top of the Wire Rift (false stal floors at upper entry point) though it is unlikely that the cave was completely choked, and there were probably large open sections such as the lower streamway from the bottom of Stal Pitch, extending down as far as the duck in Gour Rift.

This open and relatively dry section of the cave allowed stalagmitic deposits to form, particularly gours, which can be seen all along the streamway previously mentioned. Cerberus Series was probably choked at its lower levels (Rat Run, &c.) and the floor of Cerberus Hall was choked only a foot or two higher than its present level.  So if all of the floors were of a similar level (apart from secondary draining into the lower streamway beyond Stal Pitch) then the water would have done one of two things - (a) Flowed from Cerberus Hall, along the Gour Fault and out through the Pyrolusite Series (Ford) - or, (b) Disappeared through such known outlets across the fault as the Dining Room Dig or back up-cave in the Lake region, leaving the lower streamway free from running water for quite a long period of time.  Then changes took place, possibly as recently as 1926 when the large pool at the entrance area disappeared overnight or as a result of an opening at the surface (as occurred in 1936) which would let all hell loose in the Cerberus region of the cave - clearing the choke at Stal Pitch and allowing the water to pond and cause the watermark at the bottom of Everest Passage.

Subsequent undercutting at Stal Pitch would have opened the route currently in use today (to the Right of the Stal choke) and later allowed the stream to cut its way through the gravels to the current impassable route.  In achieving all this, the debris from the choke would be scattered throughout the cave to the Sump, covering the gours and only now being slowly revealed with the passage of cavers and the water flow disturbing the mud deposited there. Sewer passage, once a tremendous mud wallow is a very clean passageway now.

Returning then to my (a) above, we have looked, on several occasions for the connection between the Cerberus Hall and the Gour Hall areas.  If one looks under the gours in Gour Hall or climbs to the ledge above the Great Gour one will see solid rock, also if one climbs up the Cerberus Rift one sees that all the steps are stal covered but underneath, rock exposures can be found.  From the evidence of the survey of the cave, it appears that both Cerberus Rift and the Pyrolusite Series are quite separate inlets.

Upstream from the top of Cerberus Rift one can follow a heavily stal-ed passage for about 20ft until it becomes too tight.  This section, along the fault line, does not contain running water, the source of the stream in Cerberus Rift is from a chamber beyond the Mud Sump (on the Left at the landing by a false stal floor) and the stream emerges from the top of a steeply sloping up-dip passage which is blocked by heavy stal coating.  Holes through this stal indicate that there is a continuation of passage, as does the fairly strong draught which emerges.  The indications are that this is another inlet passage though it seems not to have any possible connection with any other known higher level passage in the cave - that is, of course, if it is a dip developed passage.

There are a couple of choked passages high above the streamway, just downstream of Plantation Junction, though whether or not these have anything to do with the Cerberus Rift extension is doubtful as they are at a much lower plane level.  On the other hand, the hole, choked with stal, above the Great Gour may well do so as this would be in the form of a lateral development along the Strike and not unknown where passages are developed along the Gour/Lake Fault.

It would, seem to be unlikely that these high level passages would breach the fault but there's no harm in looking and a search of the floor of the Cerberus area would appear to be a good bet for further extension across the fault.  What needs to be definitely proven is whether the water, ponded in the Lake Chamber area and which is flooding the entire area under Cerberus Hall and Mud Ball Chamber, has any outlet in the Lake area or does it seep through the fills and so join the stream further down the cave.

A Pryanine test was carried out a few years ago but the results were not conclusive in that the Charcoal Showed only very weak evidence of Pryanine being present in the water at Sump II and though the parties carrying the substance through the cave had been extremely careful, it is just possible that this trace (because of the weakness of the concentration) could have been caused by someone's contaminated hand or finger - and this would have been sufficient to show down at Sump II.

The bottom of the Lake is a boulder and gravel choke, is roughly at the level of the main streamway at the Dining Room and so does not rule out seepage into flowing into the level of the streamway at the bottom of Stal Pitch (Tim Large has reported seeing a seepage flowing into the passage just beyond the Gours but I had a careful look later and could not confirm this observation) as the point where the Lake flows out.

A further useful piece of information would be to determine if the Lake levels fluctuates with the weather conditions of the surface (with the time lag of a couple of weeks or so) or does it rise and fall relatively depending solely from inlet drips from the roof and the variation of the Coral Stream whichever, nowadays, seems to dry up. The fact of this stream's constancy could be due to the fact that the Drinking Pool stream at the Belfry now sinks permantly to the west of the building and the continuation of the fault (if surface depressions are any indication of such things) to continue across the fields to Nine Barrows Swallet..

It therefore seems reasonable that if the passage above Stal Pitch was choked and the current streams were flowing into the Cerberus area leaving the lower streamway free of active streams (thus allowing gour pool and stalagmite wall formations to occur on a large scale) there was probably open passage in the vicinity of the end of Gour Rift and Sump and the indications are that the stream routes we know today are elevated above the actual bedrock floor.

The 1972 digging activities at the end of Gour Rift probed, with great difficulty, about 15ft down and found well rounded sides of a pothole about 4-5ft in diameter and the impression formed at the time was that the water had run (and still does) into the Sump passage, but because of the build up of the gravel infill (from the choked streamway above Stal Pitch?) had reduced the passage to barely man sized at the Duck.  A few minutes probing to the Left of the Duck will reveal a very wide arch roof some 6 - 8ft wide.

Ford has suggested that the Bank Grille at the end of Gour Rift (he doesn't name it, merely implies a high level overflow) could well have been the way the water went. Descriptions of this passage state that it is a stal-ed inlet from which, nowadays a great stream issues in wet weather, but we need to know if the floor is completely stalagmited thereby giving a masking of the true slope of the bedrock       and creating a completely false impression of it.   It is also reported that there are minute holes in the floor and whilst no pronounced draught has been felt from these it, in this case, means very little.  The extent of the passage is said to be 150 ft (Bennett) and 200 ft (Jarrett) and any serious work on this passage will require the use of powerful hammers from the start.

The Sump appears to be top of a large stream passage but below the level of the gravel floor there are fragmented remains of gour flooring - so the gours continue.  It should be noted also that the gours by the Duck entrance in the Gour Rift, end abruptly, revealing the end section of a gravel infilling underneath, rather than the continuation of the stal flow downwards which one would have expected.  This implies that the gours once continued, roughly at the same level, beyond the point where they now end, the lower section  had been blocked off much earlier.

Now, the stream flows through Sump I and on to Sump II via an impressive rift but there’s something missing - inlet passages (with the exception of Whitsun passage, which probably links with the Dining Room Dig, and the narrow rift on the Right, opposite the Whitsun passage entrance).  All of the high level passages in the roof have been maypoled by Ray Bennett et al during 1970/71 and none of these was found to be large enough to get into for more than a few feet.  One high level passage worthy of a dig, if it is possible, is about 100ft downstream of the 10ft Waterfall, on the right-hand side, though this has the possibility of going away from the cave, as it appears to be an inlet because of the plunge pool cut-back in the gravel, which is odd as the down dip is on the Right, though again, since it appears to be midway between the dip and the strike, it is not impossible for the horizontal development to have occurred above the rift roof.  Perhaps more important is the fact that the streambed is clearly defined in the II passage from the start to the 10ft Waterfall where the passage gradually changes in direction and becomes different in character.

Immediately downstream of Sump I is a huge gravel bank, cut down on the left hand side, probably by the current stream.  How did it get there? Was the II passage choked as well for a period only to be cleared by water flowing out of the two inlets just downstream, leaving this bank high and dry.  Or, perhaps, it was the surging force of water through Sump I which left this great heap of debris.  Is Cuthbert’s II streamway in fact Cuthbert’s 1½, a name I coined immediately after the Sump was passed due to the fact that it appears to be an Oxbow albeit a long one.

So what happened to the stream?  Mud layers there are showing signs that the water flowed slowly.  This plus the fact that the lines of weakness in the roof just upstream of Sump I crosses the passage near the Sump, lead to a belief that there is just evidence that even now there may be an extension back towards the Gour Rift (a 100ft away at this point) making a way into the real Cuthbert’s II

One final comment about Sump I is that when it was being dug, in 1967, Phil Kingston described the underwater digging attempt and he said that, “the excavated passage went in for about 6 ft and turned sharply to the left.  There was a small rift feature in the roof.  Ahead was a sand barrier and beyond this open cave diveable passage was going straight on.”  When this was dug in 1969 the entire Sump had been so disturbed by the floods of 1968 that the 'way on' was solidly choked with gravel.  I've no reason to doubt this as all the other descriptions tally exactly with what we now know.

To conclude, it appears that upstream of Stal Pitch, choked water - what there was - flowed into Cerberus Series, leaving the open section of the cave beyond Stal Pitch to become Stal covered.  The water from Cerberus could have followed Dining Room Dig to Whitsun passage or gone down the choked shaft near the beginning of Dining Room Dig. Alternatively it could have (and this seems the more likely) to have flowed out near the 'U' tube - a light rift is known in the floor against the fault wall at this point.  The questions remaining are, did the water flow down the II streamway before the 1968 floods and when did the II streamway become elevated?

Digging will probably provide the answers and I recommend: -

  • Investigation of Cerberus Series
  • Dig Sump I
  • Dig Sump II
  • Investigate the Bank Grille - extremely difficult and long term.




Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

Due to circumstances beyond the control of us birds, the first 'Fifth Column' appeared in the December B.B. and not (as planned) in the November issue so, to try to get up to date for the February B. B., we decided to content ourselves with just a skim through the events of November and December.

November saw a few arrivals and departures on Mendip.  Biddle appeared for a session of piano bashing and for three weeks out of four "they 'orrible words" were heard on Mendip.  Garth put in a brief appearance and amazed everyone by saying that he was quite happy to be in Belfast - it must be quite a little News of the World he's running there!  Our Mr. N. (always in the news) turned up a week too early for a committee meeting but, whatever your profession - persistence wins, and the following week he was back again to complain about the Belfry and the amount of overbooking to non-members.

In his complaints he was supported by Bob Cross, only recently back from a I mystical' North Wales walk.  Bob, for his pains, was awarded the job of assistant to Chris B., so we can now blame both Chris and Bob.  How nice! At the same time, Martin Bishop and Widley Wobbly agreed to help John Dukes out with the engineering.

Moving rapidly on to the start of December, we come to the Shepton Buffet - a good 'do', but somewhat anti-social, because they insisted on winning their own games trophy. Still, perhaps we can excuse the B.E.C. on the grounds that a great deal of beer was spilled in the winning, and we all know the club's reluctance on such matters.  At the Hunters, preparations were under way to celebrate the 19th of the month, which was Mr. & Mrs. Ben's Ruby Wedding.  Forty years is a long time, and to prove it, the Mendipers ran a collection and presented them with their congratulations and a clock. The approach of Christmas shifted events into top gear that is, all except the Hunters Shove Ha'penny team, who arrived without Captain Richard Stevenson, Jon-Jon and Barrie.  So few were there that both Mike W and Maureen had to play.  Needless to say, Hunters didn't win that round, but they have managed a few wins since.

The Christmas Holiday was a bit confused this year, and seemed to go on for ever.  Christmas Eve had quite a gathering at the pub and visits by a few of the older members, Keith Murray and Alfie (to name but one).  Christmas Day commenced with the gift of a drink (except for Barrie) by Roger and was followed by eating by various parties which were described by recent member Zot as splinter groups.  Sunday, which we were convinced should have been Boxing Day, saw us again in the pub in various degrees of sobriety (satiety?) and later in the evening, Barrie seen to be drinking orange squash and Guinness (not, thank heavens, both at once!)            After hours saw us at the Bishops' where, for a change, we had a drink and argued until early morn.  Allie Simpson had a birthday on the Monday complete with bagpiper at the Belfry, though it seems the incohol got into his chanter a bit. The strange noise must have upset the weather, because it snowed quite heavily and got rather cold.  We survived, but it must have been hard on any brass monkeys.

To bring us up to date, brief mention of New Year’s Eve and its appalling rainy weather.  Still it didn’t seem to deter anyone fro celebrating and one or two oldies turned up, including Carol and Alan Sandall.  (No sign of Norman, though).  Congratulations to Bob White on his new daughter and perhaps to Widley Wobbly for 'naming the sprite' for his nuptials (can we blame Chris B for this?)  We haven't seen him, but we hear that Phil Kingston has taken up competition winning and has returned briefly to the U.K. as his prize.  Our commiserations to another recently rejoined member, Jen Sandercott – who lost her office in the Bristol Explosion.  1977 can surely only get better for her.


Monthly Crossword Number 71


























































































































Across (Passages)

1. A green spot? (6)
4. Found in phreatic aven (or perhaps vice versa). (4)
7. Cake somehow with fifty after tea gives the equipment. (6)
8. Suitable lodging for young caver? (4)
10. My French in a small creature produces a fossil. (8)
13. Laments about some formation for another. (8)
16. Always removing set somehow for large Cuthbert’s boulder. (4)
17. 3T somehow can hold ladder. (6)
18. Decoration from 13. (4)
19. Caver may be found this in 1 down. (6)

Down (Pitches)

1. Resting place for miners? (4)
2. Proceed slowly and imperially. (4)
3. Leave out in hand out for cave bearing rock. (8)
5. Type of solution to produce 4? (6)
6. Mendip hole associated with spring. (6)
9. Doubles ‘R’ for this in most caves. (8)
11. American Indian on board ship found in mountain regions. (6)
12. DENizen of Mendip, once. (6)
14. Hardly caving footwear. (4)
15. Shoring associated with 1 down. (4)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword



















































































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

Spares                               T. LARGE,  Address already given


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.