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Many A Slip

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

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

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

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


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


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

New Members :

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

Oldies ~

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

C of A' s

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


The 1977 Dinner

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

First Item, STYLE:

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


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

Third Item, VENUE:

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

Fourth Item, SIZE:

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

Fifth Item, PRICE:

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

Sixth Item, FOOD:

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

Seventh Item, SPEECHES:

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


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

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


Heale Farm Cave

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

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

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

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

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

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




Fifth Column – A Birds’ Eye View of Mendip

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Notice

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

Stop Press!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday Niters

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

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

March 19th        South Wales

April 1st  Cuckoo Cleeves

April 15th          Swildons

April 29th          Longwood

May 13th Sludge/Nine Barrows

Mat 27th Shatter/Withyhill (limited numbers)

June 10th          Stoke Lane

June 24th          Burrington evening.  Meet at Goatchurch

July 9th   South Wales

July 22nd          Fox Stone Mines


Tynnings Barrows Swallet

B.B. Supplement – Late Extra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Graham Wilton-Jones.


Typed and printed by Townsend Duplicating Services Inc.


Proposed Alterations To 'The Belfry

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

Main Changing Room

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

2.                  Block existing door from library into main room.

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

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

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

Unliberated Persons Changing Room

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

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

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

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


Monthly Crossword Number 72


























































































































Across (Passages)

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

Down (Pitches)

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

Solution To No. 71



























































































































Club Headquarters

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

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      M. Wheadon

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

Officers Of The Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry


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




We feel sure that we can speak for the entire club in congratulating Graham and John on becoming the current holders of the world depth record and look forward to reading about their exploits in the B.B.  It is particularly pleasing to note that both John and Graham are members of the club committee, so that we can claim to have some active committee members, although your editor is, of course, a notorious exception.

Fatal Accident.

Unhappily, we have also to record the death of Chris Murray which occurred during this years Wessex expedition to the Picos - a sad reminder of the dangers associated with caving of this magnitude.  We would like to offer our sincere condolences to our colleagues of the Wessex Cave Club on this tragic occasion.


We must apologise (we presume, not having yet seen the last B.B.) for the horrible temporary covers. Unfortunately, the hand-copied cover took the printing machine by surprise with the result you, no doubt, noticed.  If it is any consolation, at least, if we ever have to do it again, we can prevent the fault recurring.


Many thanks to Mike Wheadon who, in addition to providing material for the B.B. and standing in as Hon. Sec., designed and drew the improved heading on last month's B.B. One small point for perfectionists - for 'faciendus' read 'faciemus'.  The editor will be asking the Hon. Librarian to purchase a Latin grammar at this rate!

Who Wrote What ?

For anyone who likes to know these things, we have analysed the contents of the last complete volume of the B.B.  (Volume 28 for 1974) and it turns out, much as we suspected, that a small number of people write most of the contents.  In fact, four people wrote half the total for individuals.  Figures are given below:-

Total pages in volume






Total Authors Contributions













Dave Irwin     

46 pages





Andy Nichols

13 pages





Bob Cross        

8 pages





Graham W-J

7 pages  










Remaining author’s contributions






It would be nice to think that more people would be involved in the makeup of the present volume. There is still time for you to make your mark on the next list!

All Quiet

Some time ago, we said that the B.B. would keep members aware of what was going on in caving councils, and readers may wonder why there has been a lull in news from this front. As explained in last month's 'Round & About', the N.C.A. have promised to investigate all the viewpoints currently being expressed.  To date, the CSCC is the only council who have actually appointed a member for the proposed 'commission'.  It must be hoped that the delay elsewhere is merely due to holidays etc. rather than to any wish not to participate.  Assuming this to be so, the B.B. is not making further comment while the issue is under investigation.  Should it turn out to be otherwise, the B.B. will, of course, do its best to put all members straight on what is happening.


Club Officer’s Reports - Publication Editor’s Report

The Official report for the Annual General Meeting from the Publications Editor ... Chris Howell

The past year has proved representative of many previous ones as far as Club Publications are concerned namely, lots of work in the pipeline or 'promised' but little in the way of new Caving Reports!

On the credit side, it does seem at the time of writing (and subject to the Treasurer's final figures) that the year has produced record sales income for a year in which no new major work has appeared.  This is despite a prolonged period during which we were unable to offer surveys at the Belfry due to problems with the printers.

Cave Notes '74 (Report No. 18) was published early in 1975 and has been followed by complete survey sheets of Drunkards Hole and Sidcot Swallet.  A similar sheet for Rod's Pot is in the pipeline.  The Withyhill survey also appeared recently.

Work continues on the Cuthbert’s marathon (have you read this before somewhere?) although it is pleasing to report that surveys for Maypole and September Series have been printed and only(!) the text is awaited before this part can go to the printers.

Material is slow in arriving for Cave Notes '75, which report is reserved for reports of original work by Club members (or other interested parties requiring an outlet for their researches).  This does rather sadly reflect on the amount of new work being done, or perhaps rather on the willingness of those concerned to write about it.  I can only crave member’s indulgences in remembering that, being resident some distance from Mendip, it does make progress both difficult and/or costly if I have to keep writing to people.

The ever popular Caves of Burrington is being reprinted and will provide a valuable source of income, if only due to its popularity with the weegees at Burrington Café.

Field work is almost complete on Caves of Western Mendip, and this manuscript should be finished during the coming winter.  The rather long gestation period of this report is due in no small measure to its production having been something of a one man exercise (including the surveying!)

The continuing stocks of back numbers of B.B 's and some reports is a cause of some concern, as it does represent a 'lock up' of valuable funds.  Against this, it must be recognised that stock will to some extent appreciate in value, but nonetheless I would like to remind members that any back numbers they may be missing can be easily replaced in many instances.

Finally, my thanks to those who have assisted in their various ways during the year and, whilst it is often thought invidious to single out individuals, I must refer in particular to Dave Irwin who, if he handed over some pretty chaotic 'stock records', at least produced much valuable help and guidance in the early part of the year.  The Hon. Auditors will no doubt be pleased to learn that with effect from the start of the next financial year a proper stock record will be obtainable!


Letter to the Editor


Dear Alfie,

I have recently received some copies of the B.B. have read with interest the comments regarding the loss various traditional songs and dances that were performed on Mendip many years ago.  I feel I must write to you about a recent encounter I had with the lost tribe of the B.E.C. in Cheshire.

Whilst journeying in these wild and windswept parts I bethought myself to visit the hill country to the west and, crossing the Mersey river, I came presently to the town of Stockuponium, nestling at the base of the mighty Pennine mountains, where it is said that the great peaks touch the skies themselves and that potholes penetrate to the very fires of hell.

One evening, traversing one of the quaint cobbled streets, I became aware of voices singing in a local hostelry.  The words were unintelligible, being in a local dialect, but the tune was vaguely familiar, and soon I recognised the dulcet strains of 'Standing on the bridge at midnight'.

Upon cautiously entering the tavern, I beheld a strange collection of hill peasants playing a variety of weird instruments, one of which somewhat resembled an accordion but for which they used the dialect name 'the teeth'.  They then commenced to play 'The Good Ship Venus' and followed this with 'If I was the marrying kind'.  It was then that I realised, not without, some trepidation, that I had stumbled upon the last B.E.C. tribe of Chestershire.  I say 'trepidation' because of the legend I had heard concerning this fierce mountain tribe who, it is said, periodically come down from the hills to loot and pillage the Southern villages.  (What!  No rape? - Ed.)  More horrifying still are the stories of various southern gentlemen who journeyed in these parts without the protection of a B.E.C. membership card and were never seen again!   However, their attitude to me was cordial, and they told me the following story.

Many years ago, two members of the DCC tribe (pronounced D.C.C.) had made several journeys to the mountains of Mendip, where they had met some members of the B.E.C. namely, Chief Sett and Lord Alfie and others.  After they had completed the tribal rituals of being 'flushed'; swimming the mineries, being thrown naked into the snake infested Belfry stream and using the old Belfry Bog, they were formally made blood brothers of the B.E.C.

After some time, they returned to their own tribe, taking with them part of the B.E.C. culture - which has survived to this day.  I talked to the two original voyagers - one Stangeoca and ½aball and told them tales of modem Mendip.  They listened with awe and after I had related these tales and, upon my completion, took a great horn which they blew to summon other members of the tribe. Some of the multitude that assembled were B.E.C. members and others sympathetic D.C.C. members.  All listen intently while Stangeoca explained the situation.  Then, painting Robinson’s beer on their faces, they elected to raise a large war party and march on Mendip to slaughter and maim weegees and restore the ancient rights of the B.E.C.

This, then, is my account of the lost tribe of the B.E.C.  I am sending this epistle by fast runner who may reward with a pint of rough and orange.

Yours Faithfully,

Soararsis Horribus,


Editor's Note:     Stan Gee, who older members will certain remember as being one of the pair referred to (Arthur B being the other) says, on a more serious note, that there are 5 or 6 B.E.C. members in Stockport who would be very pleased to see any other members who might like to make an overnight stop en route to Yorkshire or the Lakes.  He gives average time from Stockport as follows:-


Derbyshire     (Caving and Climbing)          ½ hour.

Yorkshire       (Settle)                               1½ hours.

N. Wales       (Caving)                              1¾ hours.

N. Wales       (Snowdonia)                       2 hours.

Lakes.                                                    2 hours.

Scotland                                                 3- 4 hours.


Knowing Stan, I can guarantee that any members who like to take him up will be assured of a very fine night in good company.  Get in touch with Angie Dooley for his address - you won't regret it (except, perhaps the next morning)


Club Officer’s Reports - Hut Engineer’s Report

The Official report for the Annual General Meeting from the Hut Engineer ... John Dukes

During the busy weekends at the Belfry, it became apparent that the drains were not functioning properly and needed to be replaced, as the fall from the old toilets to the septic tank was not great enough, which necessitated them being rodded through during busy weekends.  All the drains have now been replaced, as the original ones were installed incorrectly.

We were left with the choice of either raising the level of the toilets or siting them elsewhere. After a number of schemes had been discussed and rejected on various grounds, the finished plan was completed. Eventually, the old toilets will become the Tackle Store, and a workshop - with charging facilities and a general store will be housed in the Stone Belfry.

As there is no ventilation in the hut, during the winter months fungoid growth is rampant throughout the interior, and it is my intention to remedy this by installing air bricks throughout, and one extra off-peak storage heater in the Men’s Dormitory before next winter.  During the winter months, when the storage heaters are in use, members and guests are using them to dry their gear.  THIS PRACTICE IS POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS to both the hut and the heaters themselves and MUST BE STOPPED.

A revised water heating system has been completed and there is now hot water throughout the weekends for 15 showers per day at a cost of 5p per person per shower.  During the week it is still necessary to use the slot meter in the Changing Room which heats ten gallons of water.

Twelve lockers have been built in the main room and are now in use and an Alpine style bunk has been completed in the Men’s Dormitory and would appear to be a success.

Costs are as follows:-

Alterations         £180

Locker                £50

Alpine bunk         £15

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who have assisted me in my term of office especially Pat Cronin and Keith Newbury, who are not members.  Also Butch and John Widley, who at the time of starting were not members but who have since joined the club and without their assistance the alterations would not be at the stage they are now.

Plan Of Alteration (Not To Scale)


Club Officer’s Reports - Caving Secretary’s Report

The Official report for the Annual General Meeting from the Caving Secretary ... Tim Large

The year started with a flourish with the Caving Sec. arranging a monthly caving programme but, as seems to be the trend of late, there was little demand for club trips. The majority of caving within the club revolves around the Belfry nucleus.  From this group have come trips to Ireland and the Pyrenees.  As usual, the club gets around contrary to some beliefs.  Trips arranged by small groups of club members appear to be more popular.

The vast rise in cost of petrol has restricted member’s visits to the Dales.  Perhaps this will be the dominating factor of future caving off Mendip.  Tourist trips into Cuthbert’s have maintained their steady flow.  Several people have shown interest in Cuthbert’s leadership - both club members and guest leaders - and these will be welcome to supplement the dwindling band of active leaders.

Club members have been active also on the digging and exploration scene.  A surface dig has re-opened the old Waldegrave Swallet, and other digs are in progress at Flowerpot, Ludwell Cave and East Twin sink.  Off Mendip, club members have been involved in the exploration of the recently discovered Otter Hole near Chepstow.

S.R.T. has made rapid strides this year, with many members seen dangling around from odd bits of ironmongery.  As usual, the club maintains its wide and well-informed outlook in the caving field. I am sure we shall continue to do so in the future, but perhaps more caving time will have to be taken up in defeating these beliefs.


The Mohole

Derek Sanderson sends us this description of a trip down this pot, which sounds as if it ought to have been discovered by 'Mo' Marriott.

I had been wanting to visit this cave ever since an account of its discovery appeared in 'Descent' No 13, but it was not until last Whitsun could I persuade Roger Wing and Keith Sanderson that it was a worthwhile trip.  The cave is situated on the South Western end of Gragareth and is relatively easy to get to by parking as for Marble Steps Pot and walking along the Turbary road until one passes through the gate just before the open shaft of Kail Pot.

The Mohole is in a deepish shakehole about a hundred yards to the left of the track, against the wall. The entrance consists of a low, descending passage with an earthy floor (feet first crawling) which leads to a narrow rift formed in rough black-brown limestone.  This is the head of the first pitch - Flake Pitch (55feet) - and there are two convenient rock flakes on the right for belays for ladder and lifeline. However, it is impossible to get directly down the ladder, and a traverse over the pitch is necessary where a drop of ten feet to a ledge leads to a short scramble from whence the ladder can be regained.  The whole of this area is constricted, and we experienced some difficulty in transporting tackle, particularly on the return journey.

Flake Pitch is not in smooth rock, but it is a reasonably pleasant descent which opens out below a ledge half way into a small chamber.  After making sure the double lifeline was running smoothly, we attached a further length of ladder to the previous one and fed it through a tight slot on the left.  This is the twenty foot slit, a pitch formed in much smoother limestone with a very narrow top section which could present some difficulties if approached hastily.

At the base is a second chamber formed in a rift which runs off to the right.  At the far end, the walls close in to form a short section of muddy rift passage with a floor of wedged boulders, the far end of which is the head of Big Blast - a 95 foot pitch.  This is the main obstacle of the cave.  The belay point consists, I think, of a ring bolt on the left. (Roger says we used a boulder in the passage floor).  Unfortunately, we were unable to find a second point for the lifeline, so we used one point for both.

The hardest part of the pitch is the top, where one has to wriggle feet-first over the tight lip of the pot and down for about eight feet only half on the ladder, until the walls begin to move apart.  The lip itself consists of a small boulder wedged in the narrow gap, this rocks ominously if too much pressure is put upon

We abseiled down, and the rift-formed pitch opens out into a good free dry descent.  One end of the rift is a flat wall of dark clay with black flints embedded in it.  The landing is a sloping floor of massive blocks partly coated in calcite and descending steeply to the head of the final pitch - the 20' Calcite Pitch.  We had abseiled down on a new 150' Terylene/Polyester rope so we used the remainder of this as a handline over the unstable blocks and then attached a final length of ladder to it by means of a clogger.  This was to reduce pressure on the rocks, all possible belay points looking unsafe.

The technique of attaching a ladder to the midpoint of a rope by means of a clogger is not normally to be recommended, though we have found it satisfactory on ropes of little stretch and have used it occasionally on the entrance to Marble Steps Pot where only one length of ladder is required midway down a 150' handline.

Calcite Pitch drops into the final chamber formed in the same rift and is floored with more massive boulders.  A climb down between boulders is the deepest paint so far reached.

The Mohole is only given a grade that it demanded quite a high standard in the handling of tackle, and the whole trip must have taken about 4 hours - much longer than we expected. The last chamber I found oppressive, but this is no reason to avoid the place.


Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany

Compiled by 'Wig'

A mixture of success, tragedy and access - three ingredients of caving - form the basis of this column for August.

187.      World Depth Record:  As members will know, the B.E.C. found themselves flashing around the Pyrenees and the French Alps.  Those wandering to the western mountains homed in to the Pierre St. Martin.  During August, various members made a through trip from the Tete Sauvage to the EDF tunnel and others were working locally in the EDF tunnel area.  Meanwhile, the French connected the hole known as M3 to the Pierre, thus increasing its depth range by 90m (295').  Previously, the Pierre was recorded as being about 3,800 feet deep.  At the other side of France, near the Berger, the Jean Bernard and the Luive were connected, displacing the Pierre to Number 2 in the depth records by about 200’.  Then Graham Wilton-Jones and John Dukes, helped earlier by Mike Palmer et al., connected the P.S.M. to the nearby Reseau d’Arphida.  The Arphida being some 110m deeper than the Pierre now increased the depth of the system to nearly 4,400 feet.

No doubt Graham and John will be telling us about their experiences in the B.B. and Cave Notes.  The world depth record smashed three times within a month is quite something.  So is the fact that the present holders are B.E.C. members!

188.      Tragedy in the Picos: The Wessex returned to the Picos to continue their valuable work in that area.  During one of the trips, Brian Woodward, Chris Murray and Pete Moody descended, using SRT techniques.  On the return up a wet, noisy, 150' pitch, Chris Murray was about 30’ up when the rope broke high above him.  Due to an awkward fall, Chris died from severe head injuries.  A rescue mounted by the other members of the party got Chris’s body out of the cave.  He was later buried at Bilboa.

189.      Gouffre Berger: Bob Stevenson and Martin Bishop were two amongst the strong party from Derbyshire to descend this huge system.  No doubt they will be writing about their experiences in the B.B.

190.      Otter Hole: Sump III has now been passed by divers and about six hundred feet of new cave discovered.

191.      G.B. Access problems again: A. unilateral move by UBSS has revoked the 1973 agreement between the member clubs of the Charterhouse Caving Committee and UBSS. This move is on the 'flimsy'-grounds of interpretation of clause 4 of the agreement, which deals with expenses 'incurred by UBSS in lieu of tackle fees.  Not only that, but to add fuel to the fire, it will cost £1 per party (of up to six cavers) to descend the cave PLUS £1 key deposit.  Bookings to be made directly to Oliver Lloyd.  Clubs who are not members of CCC will have to apply to a member club who will in turn have to apply to Oliver for a key.  Only the Hon. Sec. or Caving Sec. may apply on behalf of a club.

About two years ago, the UBSS agreed to distribute keys to the member clubs of CCC so that their members could descend whenever they wished - a great break through in the CCC access agreements.  To cover the UBSS, the CCC paid £24 for the cost of a lock and additional keys - the 'bob-a-nob' being no longer required.  Clause 4 of the agreement covered both the cost of the keys and what would happen should the UBSS incur any further expenses.  The clause read something like this: - 'Application for funds to cover any capital expenditure which might be necessary for the UBSS shall be made annually at the AGM of the CCC.  An initial amount shall be agreed as £24 for 1973.'  The UBSS are now arguing that the £24 was an agreed annual payment.  My comment at the moment is "Come off it, UBSS!  As these rules were tabled before the meeting with a few modifications - hard luck if your negotiators didn't carry out your requirements!" Why haven't the UBSS asked for discussions before invoking clause 12 which enables them to break the agreement should the situation warrant it?  This is the 'Big brother' attitude of wielding the stick and then talking.  At the 1975 AGM of CCC, the UBSS did not send along any representatives nor were there any correspondence or apologies.

Each club that received a key paid £2 for the privilege and the appointed club officer signed to state that he would be responsible for its safe keeping; failure to do so would be to possibly forfeit holding any further keys. It was also agreed that any club, other than member clubs of CCC would apply to key holding clubs for arrangements to descend the cave and not to UBSS, thus reducing their clerical tasks.

The new rules include two dangerous and rather silly clauses that each party descending the cave must not lock the door, and should any other party be met with in the cave, they must leave with the key holders.  Only one party can descend in anyone day.  The second rule is that MRO will not be given a key.  Speaking quite frankly this is bloody stupid.  A moment's thought will highlight the problems.  Who is going to search the cave to ensure that it is empty? If a party DOES lock the door and becomes overdue, does MRO have to drive to Bristol and collect a key from the Hon. Doctor? What if he isn't home and the UBSS are on holiday?  Are the UBSS really so naive as to believe that all clubs and independent cavers will be aware of the rules applicable to the cave and so not descend if they find the cave door open?  I suppose that the clubs are expected to post a guard at the entrance!

At the time of the discussion and the agreement, the BEC were in favour of supporting the right of UBSS to make their own decision regarding access to the cave.  If they were not prepared to distribute keys, then BEC would support their right (this is minuted in BEC Committee minutes and is not a figment of my imagination). However, one imagines that the committee may well think again under the present circumstances.


Focus On The Insurance Policy

Some information following the sub-committee's report

The report of the sub-committee on insurance and allied matters is, perhaps, not easy to follow without some background information.  This article tries to supply it .

To start with, the club's policy is a liability insurance.  This is not the same as accident cover as far as the member who might expect to receive money is concerned.  Personal accident cover (if your policy covers caving/climbing activities) will recompense you against losses you may incur as a result of an accident.  It does not insure you against damages that might be awarded against you if an accident occurred to somebody else as a result of your proven negligence.  It is this type of situation that the club policy is designed to cover.

Thus, the club policy cannot take the place of a personal accident policy.  Caving is, to some extent, a hazardous pastime and accidents through bad luck are much more like than those through actual negligence. Any member should therefore weigh up the odds and take out some form of personal accident cover if at all worried.

So the club policy is there to protect you against the effects of legal action.  It turns out that any trip consisting predominantly of club members would be covered whether officially organised or not.  Even trips which involved trespass might not be ruled out, although each case would be taken on its merits.  On the other hand, a collection of cavers from various clubs engaged in a co-activity - such as NHASA or the Friday Night Club - might not be covered by the insurance policy of any club.

The club policy applies with particular force where a successful action by an outsider could if any fixed tackle failed through the club's negligence in failing to maintain or inspect it.  Without a suitable policy, any resulting damages and/or costs would have to be found by selling all the club’s assets (like the Belfry and its site) and even this might not be enough in some cases.  Members of the committee might find themselves held liable and even ordinary members of the club could be at risk.  Thus, a policy is very necessary, but there is some cause for alarm about the whole situation because it appears that insurance companies are not very keen on this type of insurance for caving and our policy could always be cancelled. In that event, we might well find no other policy available or none so cheap as the present one.  As a result, the sub-committee are proposing a number of things designed to make us look more attractive to our insurers (like a waiver signing away the right of any member to sue any other member).  In addition, a regular inspection of Cuthbert’s tackle is being arranged with a record of checks and maintenance.  A notice accepting no liability will also be displayed at the entrance.

Even so, there remains the possibility that our £250,000 policy might not be enough in some cases, and members are advised to have public liability cover built into their household policies.  Bob White will advise.  Another way of protecting members - but not club property - would be to make the club into a company, but present enquiries show that this is too expensive, as it does not take the place of a policy, but is additional to it.

The club's trustees must also be insured.  At present they are not and now that they know the risk they run, they are likely to resign unless cover is provided.

The above covers briefly most of the main points.  This is a very important subject which will come up at the A.G.M. and members are advised to talk, wherever possible, with members of the sub-committee for further details before the meeting.  It is hoped to have a panel of experts available at the A.G.M. to answer specific questions.




Monthly Crossword – Number 59



















































































3. Three directions and two learners locally. (5)
5. The break up of chrome less a thousand for locally obtained pigment. (5)
6. Upper part of cave perhaps. (4)
7. Correct description of direction missing in 3 across. (4)
9. An exclamation……. (2)
11. ……for example. (1,1)
13. 8 down is light if caver just this. (4)
15. Caving emblem. (1,3)
16. Probing for caves with this can be a boring job. (5)
17. E. and W. on Mendip. (5)


1. Not usually found littered in front of show caves but deep inside Swildons. (5)
2. Document associated with Lamb Leer. (4)
3. Subjectively us. (2)
4. Unstable perhaps. (5)
6. Take it easy? (4).
8. Right, one foot, give this cave feature. (4)
10. Found in G.B., Stoke Lane etc. (2-3)
12. Found in Cuthbert’s (5)
14. He named a pot – gas risings from nothing. (4)
16. Like top of 14 reversed. (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      G. Wilton-Jones

Members           Colin Dooley, John Dukes, Chris Howell, Dave Irwin, Tim Large, Andy Nicholls, Mike Wheadon, Barry Wilton

Officers Of The Club

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

Honorary Treasurer             B. WILTON, ‘Valley View’, Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol.

Caving Secretary                A. NICHOLLS, c/o The Belfry

Assist Cav. Sec.                 T. LARGE, 15 Kippax Avenue, Wells, Somerset

Hut Warden                        C. DOOLEY, 51 Ommaston Road., Harbourne, Birmingham 17. Tele :  (021)  427 6122

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

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

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

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

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

Spares                               T. LARGE,  Address already given

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




New Officers

The 1975-6 committee contains few, if any surprises.  None the less, our best wishes to Mike Wheadon for agreeing to continue to be our Hon. Sec., after stepping into this job at a moment's notice during the last club year.

Our best wishes also to Roy Marshall, who has the difficult job of keeping the Climbing Section going and, one presumes, keeping Bob Cross happy at the next A.G.M.  Also, to Chris Batstone who has taken on the equally difficult job of being Hut Warden.  We are sure that club members will wish them every success during the next twelve months.

E.G.M. Ahead?

The new committee have some tough jobs in the pipeline already.  The A.G.M., having thrown out the idea of a waiver to prevent one member suing another via the club's policy - against the findings of the sub-committee set up to investigate these matters and reinforced by experts like Mike T., Tim Reynolds and Bob White - has now left the new committee in a bit of a hole from which it has somehow to emerge in true caving fashion.  As if this were not enough it has also to look into a mechanism whereby school clubs could become affiliated to the B.E.C.

Now, any change to the conditions or classes of club membership which would arise if the committee recommended some sort of scheme along these lines must, by the club constitution, be presented to the club as a whole for voting on, and cannot be put into effect by the committee.  Thus, the first amendment to this resolution discussed at the A.G.M. (luckily defeated) was, as somebody pointed out, unnecessary.  The second amendment (even more luckily defeated) which would have compelled the committee to act was out of order, although nobody pointed this out at the time.  The actual resolution, as passed, compels the club committee to look into the subject as a matter of some urgency!  This hardly squares up with the normal process whereby the committee reports its findings before the next A.G.M. and the club then votes for or against.  One wonders how the committee will avoid that most unpopular of moves - an E.G.M.

Once Written, Twice Try!

As was greatly feared at the time, it turns out that the letter from Mike Wheadon has become the first item ever to have been printed by mistake twice, for which we apologise to all members - and especially to Garth Dell for having wasted some of his paper! There are a number of things which have, for an editor, a nightmare quality about them.  One of these, which has happened before but luckily not to me, is to find a page of the B.B. printed upside down.  This has only happened once, and the letter to the editor which suffered this fate was, in fact, one which I wrote to the editor at that time.  The other one, which has not yet - touch wood - happened, is to find that the wrong page has been printed on the back of another page.  Don't worry!  I expect it will happen some time!

Round and About

Dave (Wig) Irwin tells me that, owing to the amount of work he has to get through, he is going to have to 'taper off' his regular column of up-to-date information and finally stop at the end of the year.  On behalf of the B.B.  A hearty vote of thanks to Wig for his hard work in running the longest running regular feature to have appeared in the B.B.  Are there any aspiring young columnists amongst our members who might be planning a successor to this feature.



Beginner’s (and Friends)

An account of some caving in Yorkshire during July 1975 by 'Beginner'

The expedition consisted of four members, namely Tony, who scared the living daylight out of a party of unsuspecting cavers in the sandy passages of O.F.D. with his renowned impression of a herd of stampeding elephants; Annette, who impaled herself on the tag wire of a ladder while descending the Twenty in Swildons and had to be lifted off, which was not funny at the time (Shades of 'Susan Grey'? Ed); Rosemary, who swore off caving for life after being descended on by ten boy scouts while in difficulties in Upper Swildons; and 'Beginner', who is modest, truthful and writing this rubbish account.

The expedition arrived in Yorkshire (where the REAL caves are on Saturday, and a check of essential equipment was initiated.  Three wetsuits; helmets; lamps; carbide; rope; ladders; tethers; four gallons of homemade wine; two packs of cards (Bridge) and forty pounds (drinking money).  By eleven o'clock on Tuesday morning, we thought we really ought to do some caving. Tony said his back was too painful (he has a genuine incipient slipped disc) and volunteered to help Rosemary guard the remaining wine.  This reduced the caving party to two people and since we were not prepared to burden ourselves too much with tackle, we chose the West Kingsdale system (valley entrance) for our first cave.

On approaching the faded orange oil drum, we heard a peculiar whistling noise.  Removing the lid proved that this was caused by the force ten breeze that wafted out of the hole.  After crawling in and replacing the lid, we were able to light the lamps. This revealed a four foot high passage which, after a few yards, became a three foot tube containing two feet of water. Passing this, we entered the 'roof tunnel' which is about five feet in diameter and mostly dry but which has about six inches of water on the floor in places.

When we reached the master cave we found that the climb down was not really difficult but, being idle, we rigged up a twenty foot ladder and fifteen foot tether to the rawlbolt provided. Proceeding upstream, the Canyon and Cascades reminded me very much of the O.F.D. II streamway, in spite of the reduced size (we liked it!)

On reaching the Master Junction, we decided to go via the ' Chest Deep Canal' as far as the Rowten Sump.  The canal is about twenty feet wide in a seven foot high tunnel and contains about five feet of water.  Annette swam while I waded!  We eventually got to the sump which is marked by notices pointing out the dangers of remaining underwater without air.

Returning to the Master Junction, we proceeded up Philosopher's Crawl towards Swinsto Final Chamber but turned back in order to reach the nearest hostelry before it closed, which we did.  Wednesday was spent sightseeing Catrigg Force; Malham Tarn; Malham Cove, various inns and fish and chips with wine followed by a game of bridge.  On the Thursday, we did Short Drop Cave; Leck Fell.  We spent much longer in this cave, having started at nine o'clock in the morning, and explored many of the side passages.  The cave is as described in Northern Caves, Volume Four.  Our only problem was that, having reached Gravel Pot, we could not find the correct way up.  However, not being prepared to go all the way back again, we went straight up, with difficulty.

Going back to the other half of our expedition, we decided, in view of Tony's excessive state of fed-upness at not being able to go caving, to spend the rest of the week getting rid of the remaining drinking money, which we did.

Editor's Note:     'Beginner' writes, with this article, 'In response to your appeal for more contributions to B.B., I enclose an account of a recent trip to Yorkshire.  Both caves visited required about the same degree of skill as, say, G.B. or Swildons I.

Of other people were four from Whernside Manor - two instructors and two novices.  The instructors said that they were disappointed at the number of novices going there and offered to lend us an unlimited amount of tackle at very reasonable rates.

The only other cavers we saw were some in the process of descending Gaping Gill main shaft on a single rope (rope walkers?).  They emerged later from Bar Pot.


Club Officer’s Reports. - Hon. Secretary’s Report

As delivered at the late A.G.M. and published for the benefit of those who were not able to attend.

The past year has seen club members establishing the club on both the caving headlines and on the political front.  Internally, two major investigations have taken place, and their findings will affect club members in several ways.  Within the administration of the club, major changes have taken place at the Belfry that have incorporated the improvements that have been voiced as being necessary and should perhaps have been included when the building was erected in 1969. Further changes have been made as a result of the experiences gained by living and working in the building.

On the home front first. The election of the committee resulted in one of the most active for many years.  The committee co-opted Chris Rowell to take over the editorship of the Caving Reports and also survey sales.  Later, to assist our Treasurer Barry Wilton, Angie Dooley was appointed as Membership Secretary - a post that has worked well this year.  Due to the problems of committee members resigning during the course of any club year, it was decided that all correspondence for subscriptions; Cuthbert’s trips; bookings etc should in future be addressed to the Belfry and not to the individual's home address.  This will, it is hoped, prevent the loss of mail through non-delivery to the Club Officer responsible for its action.

During the year there were two resignations from the committee or official posts.  First was the resignation of Gerry Oaten as Climbing Secretary - he was replaced by Tony Sharp.  There was another member prepared to stand and he is now on the 1975/6 committee due to the fact that Tony is moving away from the Bristol area.  The second was myself, who resigned from the post of Club Secretary in July, as it was not advisable to be seen as a club officer while at the same time being Hon. Secretary of the Council of Southern Caving Clubs.  In addition, the work for the Southern Council has proved to be much greater and more time consuming than was originally thought.  Tomorrow, in fact, I have to be away from Priddy at 7am for an N.C.A. meeting in Stafford and so it's early to bed to-night!  Later in the year, Andy Nichols resigned as Caving Sec. and was replaced by Tim Large.  The replacement for the Hon Sec. was bravely taken on by Mike Wheadon.

As a result of discussion at the last A.G.M., a special committee was formed to look into the question insurance.  A group comprising of Alfie; Joan Bennett; Andy Nichols; Bob White and myself met in January.  Later meetings saw this committee enlarged by two invited specialists Mike Thompson and Tim Reynolds.

The committee drew up a report and submitted its findings to the club committee in June of this year - a summary has been published in a recent B.B. and it was decided that instead of going through the procedure of modifying and reprinting the entire constitution for the sake of adding two clauses, the Club Rules should be brought back into existence.  These will be placed before the meeting today for your approval.

When the inflation rates were found to be rising well above the 20% on a national level, the committee requested Barrie Wilton and myself to look into the financial position of the club.  This we did, and it was found that there was no real need to raise the subscript for the coming year 1975/76.  This was done on the basis that income to the club from whatever source (i.e. the Belfry; publications etc - with the exception of surveys which are a special case - would be pooled in the general account rather than keep the monies in separate accounts for expenditure in that particular department of the club. This is not to say that subs will not have to rise in the year 1976/77 but only the next year's committee will be able to assess the situation.

Two members of' the club managed to make the inter-national headlines; Graham Wilton-Jones and John Dukes in the discovery and exploration of SC3 (Belfry Pot), a 350m deep pothole that connected the upper reaches of the P.S.M. in the Pyrenees, while on the home front Roy Bennett has been involved with the exploration of an important discovery in the Chepstow area - Otter Hole - which the Royal Forest of Dean Slelaeos pipped him by breaking through first at another dig point.  The cave is now over 3,400ft long and instead of the usual guidebook, the Avonmouth tide tables happen to be your 'bible'. Congratulations to all three.  On a smaller scale, work at Waldegrave, East Twin valley, Wookey Hole and Fairy Cave Quarry are all helping to keep the club’s name in a good light.

The Climbing Section is going through one of its unfortunate lulls, but we've seen this before in both the caving and climbing areas and it is hoped that the club can attract more climbers into the section in the near future.

The political scene is one of those unfortunate events in the caving world that can no longer be ignored. Your committee has been only too well aware this year of the forces that are arising and, unless they are damped down immediately, the whole face of caving in the country will change to the detriment of the pastime.  Even the B.M.G. are finding this influence testing.  As a result of the appearance of several diverse views - two from the South from Tim Reynolds and Alfie - the N.C.A. executive have realised that the N.C.A. cannot continue along its current lines without the need for an investigation at grass roots as to what the caver expects from N.C.A.  A special working party has been set up made up of a representative from each of the caving regions, with Phil Davies of the Wessex being the Southern representative.

This year, the B.E.C. has resigned its membership of the Cambrian Caving Council as it believes that a club should only have voting powers on one regional council and not have such powers on as many regional councils as it desires to belong. However, the club committee for the opinion that it is not opposed to associate membership of another region - we are, in fact, associate members of the Council of Northern Caving Clubs.

The Cambrian Cave Rescue Council has been reformed and although we are actively involved here on Mendip with M.R.O., Roy Bennett has volunteered to act as liaison bod with B.E.C. for rescue work in South Wales.  This is for the reason that he is active in the little-known Chepstow area and also because he is situated near the Severn Bridge and can be in South Wales as quickly as he can reach Mendip.

This report has been compiled to the end of July and any future work will be explained by Mike Wheadon A.G.M.


Letters to the Editor

Dear Alfie and Company,

Well done, 'Sons of Bertie' for another excellent B.E.C. dinner - again, well attended by members and guests alike - unlike another well known Mendip club with whom we often PITTS our wits against and who I am assured, due to a greatly reduced attendance at their dinner in Wells this year, are to hold their next dinner in the phone box on Priddy Green to cater for the demand.

Talking of where clubs hold, or may hold, their dinners, may I express purely my own point of view and urge that next year we have a change in location of the dinner as two years on the trot in Wells may well be dulled by a third.  This is in no way a condemnation of the excellent cuisine and the pleasant and friendly service of our caterers, but rather more due to a yearning to 'roam around from pub to pub' to other pleasant locations.

A little bit of plushness once a year - as opposed to a reminder of one’s short-trousered and gym shoe days in a lofty school hall never hurts the club - indeed I feel that it adds a little more sense of occasion.

I know well from previous service on the committee that people will argue that we cannot find large enough places, but I feel that we need only cater for the club as a whole, and not the myriads of others who come because it is THE dinner.  Places like Cheddar and Wookey change in three and four years respectively you know.  We can still cater for members and guests up to a total of 200, and you can't please all the people all the time!

Best wishes to the club dinner for next year!

"Mr" Nigel.

Editor's Note:     The Committee are, as usual at this time of the year, holding an inquest on the dinner and making basic plans for the next.  Already, some members of the club have made their wishes known to the committee.  If YOU have any strong views - or feel that the existing arrangements are what you prefer - PLEASE let any member of the committee know, so that your views can be taken into account.  As many members will know, some places have to be booked many months in advance, so there is no a lot of time for decisions to be taken, so shout NOW if you want to be heard'.


Townsend Cottage.

Dear Alfie,

It is a great pity that the important clause re the insurance resolution, presented at the A.G.M., was turned down.

I am surprised that the major points were not amplified or understood by all concerned.  Insurance companies are not keen to insure cavers though, if the conditions seem fair to them, they will do so.  Three of the major clubs in the area, S.M.C.C.; W.C.C. and ourselves are insured with the same company who has not carried out a full actuarial investigation thus relating the premiums paid to the risk involved.  To protect themselves, they have written into the policy a clause enabling them to cancel unilaterally on 14 days notice.  Now, to reduce the risk of a claim being made to the insurance company but keeping the club (as distinct from the individual) fully protected, it was felt necessary to delete the 'member to member' clause.  Altering the policy will not eliminate a member suing another member, as this can still be done.  However, by incorporating a clause in a set of club rules or in the constitution and by highlighting this rule in the application form, members would be prevented from suing each other.  There are good reasons for this.  We've all joined a club to enable us to go caving - it's just not safe to go underground alone - and its good fun to cave with people one knows.  It is also recognised that caving is a hazardous sport and that accidents will happen.  This being the case, if we can't trust each other and have to go underground feeling that if a mistake is made that could be interpreted as 'negligence' then we all might as well stay at home.  To prove negligence is extremely difficult.  When does 'foolhardiness' become 'negligence'?

Individuals can take out independent insurance cover quite cheaply - a few pounds a year for £100,000 but though this might answer the problems, the only proof of being insured is by production of a 'cover note' each time we come together.  This is messy and completely unnecessary.

I would sign this clause in the rules any day.  If member still persist in retaining the right to sue another then a simple rule must be applied to conditions of membership.  On applying for membership of the club or renewing membership by paying one's subscription, the application form or cheque for the annual subscription must be accompanied by the individual's insurance cover note.  The main problem is that of life members, as new conditions of membership cannot be made to act retrospectively.  What does one do?  The problem, of course, applies whether we eliminate 'member to member' clause or keep the right to 'member to member'.  Having said that, I would personally sign the clause as proposed by the committee though we have some fifty life members, many of which have given up active caving.  I would guess that they would no be too worried about signing the clause. However, that remains to be seen. Incidentally, the M.C.G., S.M.C.C. and W.C.C. all have this clause in their respective rule so be warned!  If a B.E.C. member belongs to any other club, he'd better check their policy - he might not be able to sue a member of his second club!


Dave Irwin.


Mik’s Peregrinations

Following on from the 'Thrilla in Manilla' - on Saturday, 4th October at the Blue School in Wells came the B.E.C.'s all-ticket sell-out dinner. Since there were so many satisfied customers last year it seemed to be a good idea to opt for the mixture as before, as we asked Arthur Laws if he could get his catering organisation into gear and provide a meal similar to the one he laid on in 1974.  The menu this year was Soup, followed by Prawn Cocktail; Beef Jardinière (with carrots, runner beans, creamed and roast potatoes) and then a choice from Blackberry and apple tart; trifle or cheese and biscuits.  I noticed that Dan H. managed a helping of the whole lot again.  Coffee was not served at table this year, for no reason that I could establish, but was available in the entrance vestibule which also doubled as the Mobile Hunters where Roger and Ben held court.

As usual, there was a considerable company assembled before the dinner for a quick pint (or two) and whilst it would not be possible to list all those present, I think we should note that Stella Hasell was there despite only recently recovering from a fractured hip.  Angus Innes returned after an absence of 25 years.  Tom and Rusty Neil turned up with their daughter Edwina and your very own Bobby Bagshaw was there without his famous beer tankard (cries of 'Shame!'). There was Blogg; Ransom; Ginger Thomas; Beryl Ifold and many others.  Our main guests were Gerry and Valerie Brice (for the older types, he is Casey's replacement) and representatives from the Shepton Wessex and U.B.S.S.

Of course, there were many other guests and after Sett (who was this years A.G.M. Chairman) had dealt with the Loyal Toast, he called upon Zot, who rose on his dainty and pretty clogs to propose that the club drink a health to the guests.  Actually, Chris started his toast by delivering a very original Irish joke and then went on to point out the guests - giving generous comment in praise of their clubs.  He then went on to praise (and perish) the fuzz, ending his build-up to the toast with the first verse of a new song.

If you go down to the Wig’s today, you’re sure of a great surprise,
If you go down to the Wig’s today, you’d better go in disguise.
For all the fuzz that ever there wuzz
Is gathered there for certain becuzz
To-day's the day that somebody nicked his Hi-Fi.

Gerry Brice then replied on behalf of the guests, pointing out, that although he knew we were all a lot of (decent) rogues, the times had changed because once he could call at the Belfry and be offered coffee – now he gets offered a 'tot'.  He did not tell any risqué jokes nor sing any short songs about policemen but in response to his toast - the B.E.C. - there was quite a response.  Now, if you've been paying attention, you will recall that this was an all-ticket dinner, and Roy Pearce had photographed and enlarged one of the tickets and suggested that we could present it to our principal guest with suitable endorsements on the reverse of the 'ticket' Mike Wheadon presented it to Gerry at the close of his speech.

After all this, there could not be much left, you would think, but once again, Alan Thomas produced a piece de resistance in his now familiar toast of absent friends. Although Alan usually precedes his toast with a tale or two (and this years was as successful as is usual) I always find my thoughts tending to drift at this time to those not present and whom I remember, so I only noticed that Alan mentioned George Honey.  He must have mentioned others, since he concluded by making the point that the B.E.C. could well claim to be the club on which the sun never sets.

At this point, we usually turn to our entertainers and Barrie Wilton and Butch had planned to take us on a journey to the centre of the earth, but unfortunately Butch ran amok last Saturday (Sept 27th) and got married so he had to cry off entertaining us. (Anyway, congrats to him and Aileen). Alfie then volunteered to sing us a selection of his caving songs of his own composition, but as we had not prepared the stage beforehand, and people had settled down to serious drinking and chattering so quickly, it was thought not to be a good idea after all so we already have the choice of two entertainments for next year.

One of the major disadvantages of the Blue School is that you get thrown out at midnight, so we had to climb back into our pumpkins and go back to the Belfry where there were a couple of barrels waiting to be tapped and a couple of songs waiting to be sung. In conclusion, I found the dinner very enjoyable, as did the great majority of those I have since researched. Once again, Patti’s relations proved that whatever your profession, nepotism wins.  See you next year - I hope.

Members' Addresses

Next month, traditionally, the B.B. produces the up to date list of addresses of club members.  If you are about to move, or have any information about your address which you want to have corrected, please get in touch with our Membership Secretary - Angie Dooley.  You may write to via the Belfry if you wish.  There are always some club members who find that the reason they have missed some B.B.'s etc. is because their address is not correct in some way or other.  If you have any reason to believe that your address is not correct, please get in touch.



P.S.M. 1975

Or ‘Whatever is worth doing!’

Graham Wilton-Jones writes 'This article is basically to put the record straight and give a brief account.  More detail information will be published later as a Caving Report.

I should emphasise that I am dealing with this years discovery, ‘at the Pierre’, because several people are mistakenly thinking that we connected PSM and Arphidia (sorry,Wig) 'in the pierre'.  There is a strong possibility that this connection will be discovered or made before long.  Indeed, it is one of our intended projects for 1976 to examine closely the upstream area of Arphidia and the high level passages off the Salle Chevalier in PSM. No connection between the two has yet been made.  In point of fact, we have provided the PSM with another entrance - its fifth (If the M prefix entrances, including M3, are counted as one).

We had been prospecting on that vast plateau of bare limestone, known locally as lapiaz, which stretches up to and across the French/Spanish border from the col de PSM to the impressive cliffs of the Pic de Soum Couy and Pic d'Anie.  We were using stereoscopic aerial photographs by courtesy of ARSIP and USAF to identify positions of interesting sites.  Having worked there for several days we were becoming relatively familiar with the area, and I took a short cut one morning to reach our geographical reference point, a cairn and pole which we had placed on a low hill.  Almost at our prospecting starting point at the end of this low, rounded hump of limestone, I came across a deep joint half a metre wide and about 5 metres long (1'6" by 16').  Stones I dropped down it rumbled away for 15 seconds, with several free falls.  It was significant that no other pots were known in this area, apart from those we had discovered and investigated during the previous week or so.

By the end of the day John and I with Cher (a caver from the American group who were also working on the plateau) had reached the head of another series of drops descending about 120 metres (394').  On the second day much time was spent in re-rigging and, in putting in extra bolts, three of us reached a depth of 175 metres (574').

The following day was rather short, as we had to go back to the valley to restock our provisions. The Americans had completed the M3 inlet survey and some had recovered after their three days underground.  In the late afternoon, three of them (sorry, two, Editor!) Jim Smith and Fred Wefer came down with us.  Most of the time was spent as on the previous day, putting in bolts and re-rigging.  However, John managed to free climb down the next pitch for a few metres and look at the way on.

On the fourth day, Bill Combs joined us and the survey was restarted.  John and I had nothing to do with this, and were more than thankful for American help and expertise here.  On this day, I managed to get down to about 300 metres (984'), while John was never far above, hammering in extra bolts wherever the rope touched the rock. Once again, we left the place with another inviting and un-descended pitch below us.

The weather was bad the next day, so we decided to sort out survey notes, then go and meet three of the American group who were doing the PSM through trip (Tete Sauvage to EDF tunnel). Until this time I was firmly convinced that the cave was heading roughly East, but Bill insisted that his measurements showed it to be trending just East of South.  Even so, this would make it almost the opposite of the PSM water flow (approximately West North-West).  Furthermore, we were working in an area in which the nearest known pot, over a kilometre away, has a water flow presumed to be Eastwards, away from the Pierre to resurge in an entirely different valley. I thought we were to the East of the underground watershed.  However, while stuck in the car in the pouring rain halfway up the track to the EDF hut, Bill realised from grid references worked out from the survey that our new pothole was within a hundred metres (328') of the Bassaburuko inlet of the PSM.

One more rest day, dictated by the weather and then, after a further descent of 54 metres (173') and a thrutch through a nasty loose rift, the connection was made at last at a depth of about 350 metres (1,148 ft).

In all, we have increased the depth of the PSM by a mere 58 metres (190ft) to 1,332 metres (4,370ft). We will all have evil memories of an incredibly wet, windy and cold day tramping about the lapiaz in the mist with altimeters and walkie-talkies just to confirm this with 10 feet (3m).  M3 had increased its depth by 103 metres (338ft) to 1,274 metres (4,180ft).  We believe, but we have had no actual confirmation, that the Jean-Bemard/Luive system has a depth of 1,310m (4,298ft), with further potential.

The name of the new pot is Belfry Pot when translated into English.  It is a considerably more roomy pot than the Tete Sauvage and provides an easy route to the upper and little-known reaches of the system.  It could be considered as an all-weather entrance, but this only applies once you get underground.  The final section of the 100m (328ft) penultimate pot is damp in wet weather and there is some drip, but a wet suit is not necessary.  One is far more likely to get wet walking up to the entrance than actually descending the pot.


Committee Meeting

The 1975/76 committee met for its first full meeting (apart from that held during the A.G.M. to appoint club officers for the coming club year) on Friday, 7th November.  A number of club members were also present and took part in the discussions.

The committee picked up several items of unfinished business from last year.  One of these, the alterations to the Belfry, produced some lively discussion.  Following another suggestion from the floor, alternative venues for the 1976 Annual Dinner are being investigated by the Hon. Sec.

New items of business included all the topics passed on to the committee by the A.G.M.  On the subject of club insurance, Alfie volunteered to see Bob White with a view to seeing how the wishes of the club might be incorporated into the club's policy.  This will be reported on at the next meeting.  On the subject of affiliation, the committee decided to try to obtain more viewpoints from members before discussing the matter among themselves.

The next meeting of the committee is on Friday, 5th December at 8.p.m. at the Belfry.

1976 Paul Esser Memorial Lecture

This lecture will be given on Wednesday, 18th February 1976 at 8.15 p.m, in the Arthur Tyndall Memorial Lecture Theatre Physics Dept, Tyndall Ave, Bristol 8, by Dr. A.C. Waltham on the subject of 'Caves and Ice'.  This is the first time we have had a caving subject for the lecture.  There will be a further reminder somewhat nearer to the actual date.


The Hut Warden would like to appeal for items of cutlery, crockery and furniture for the Belfry. If you have anything you think might be useful, get in touch with Chris about it.


Monthly Crossword – Number 61



















































































1. Disorganised Mendip feature at Wells? (6)
6. Belays begone? (4)
8. Alternative initial description of S.R.T. (1,1,1,1)
9. A Stoke Lane Crawl. (5)
10. Useful for away trips, or sounds like afternoon meals for 10. (5)
12. Detectors of aural connection underground. (4)
13. A half road. (4)
14. Sets off chemical persuader? (7)


2. Pretty?  Wet? (4)
3. Current phenomenon in stream perhaps. (4)
4. Rock Les on Eastern Mendip. (7)
5. Abrupt first letter in cave formation. (7)
7. Cheddar cave. (5).
8. Staid form of underground passages. (5)
10. Short cave dweller. (4)
11. Dried up. (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      G. Wilton-Jones

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

Officers Of The Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B.B. Postal                    BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

Spares                          T. LARGE,  Address already given

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

Climbing Secretary         R. MARSHALL, 7 Fairacre Close, Lockleaze, Bristol


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


Any views expressed by any contributor to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless stated as being the view of the committee or editor.

Owing to the fact that club officers are likely to be changed at the forthcoming a.g. M., the usual list has been omitted from this b. B.


How Big Is The B.E.C.?

At the time of writing, rumours have it that the membership of the club is falling.  If this is really so then it is something of which we should perhaps take note.  However, it is always difficult to predict just how many members, who have ignored all the warnings will still pay their sub eventually, and it may well turn out that by the time of the dinner that we are once again back up to full strength.

Rumour also has it that some members have objected to the various letters which have been sent out. If these objections are based on the actual wording of such letters then it is probably due to the fact that those who have had the job of composing them are not professionals at this art! If, on the other hand, it is the letters them¬selves which have been objected to, then one must, in my opinion, bear in mind the fact that committee must have as much information as possible in order to balance the books in these inflationary days.  We hope that members will perhaps take this point.

Back Again

Your editor has recently received a letter from Sybil who is now back in the locality and writes to say that she will be pleased to see any club members who would like to look her up. Her address is 9 Beverley Close, Critchill Park, Frome, Somerset.

It's a Ruddy Fine Song

Correspondence is still arriving on the somewhat controversial subject of reviving the old Hunters Singsong and there is one aspect of all this which has not so far been mentioned by any of the writers.  In the days when the singsong was a regular Saturday night affair, there existed a hardcore of those who knew the same words and the same tune to any particular song.  On occasions, they even sang it all in the same key as well.  When, as often happened, a group of people arrived with a rival version, they usually got the chance to sing it afterwards and a general decision was made as to which version would be sung in future.  By this sort of process, for example, a later version of 'Cathuselum' was adopted while a later tune to 'The Portions' was not. With so many different versions of 'they words' now current, any would be sing song revivalists face a problem of discipline which I imagine will prove near enough impossible to solve in practice.  In fact, it was the gradual breakdown of the system of having an 'authorised' version - leading to the shouting matches of the Hunters singsong in its final death throes which drove many people - myself included ¬back to the ordinary bar and out of the back room.  Would anybody like to comment on this point of view?

No Election

News has just arrived that there will be no election this year for the new committee, as there are only nine candidates.  This has, of course, happened before on a number of occasions, although one always hopes that it will not become a habit.  It now remains to be seen if the new method to be used for the selection of the club officers will produce any surprises.

Catching Up

In an attempt to catch up with this volume by the Christmas edition, an effort is being made to publish (i.e. to have printed the editions ready for collating and distribution) by the following dates.  Sept., Oct 22. Oct., Nov 10.  Nov, Nov 19 and Christmas, Dec 3rd.  This means producing two pages of B.B. on every working day between now and December 3rd! It will be interesting to see if this can be done!



Club Officer’s Reports - Climbing Report

The Official report for the Annual General Meeting

This year has seen a certain trend away from local climbing, due largely to the closure of Cheddar Gorge and most of the Avon area.  Particularly regrettable has been the loss of the tea wagon and car park, which provided a valuable focal point for evening and weekend meets, especially ‘en famille.’  At the end of 1974, considerable interest was being expressed in the Wye Valley cliffs, less at Wyncliffe and Wintour's Leap than at a new crag, the Seven Sisters.  Many of the new routes at the latter site have been disfigured with painted records of first ascent dates, gradings etc. - a practice also in evidence at Symond's Yat. Not yet in the guidebooks is 'Pulsator', a VS worthy of note in a lean year.  The antics which accompanied its inauguration are best forgotten, however.

A visit to the Dewerstone at the beginning of January was far warmer than expected and the granite a welcome change from the ubiquitous limestone.  As the year has progressed, trips have become fewer.  One trip to the Lake District collapsed from lack of support.  This was a mini-bus venture, promising a round trip at £3 to £4 a head, a fee which, perhaps surprisingly, was claimed to be beyond the pockets of most.

Morris and hang gliding have claimed a considerable following recently and it is unfair to lament the reduction in climbing activity when the social life of club members is so obviously flourishing.  Some have even returned to the troglodytic activities from which they once progressed en route to the crags.

This report is, unfortunately, being prepared before return of the summer Alpine meet, so that achievements will have to wait until next year for inclusion.  A Matterhorn trip was apparently planned, and a report of this and other ventures will be most welcome in the club journal, providing the handwriting is up to standard.

And so, reluctantly, to the subject of new blood, quickly disposed of by putting out that there has not been any.  This may be due to the club reputation for sitting in car parks (yes, it does have such!) and it may be due to the lack of club facilities for climbers, or to the tendency now prevalent for young climbers to attend the 'Outward Bound' style courses and shun the easy going camaraderie of the club.  It is painfully obvious that climbing has become very much a 'sport' of late, prey to any number of silly arguments and political style wrangles.  The competitive gymnasium approach does not really suit this club, and any recruitment drive must be very care¬fully and selectively planned.  If anybody has any ideas on recruitment or would be willing for example to instruct beginners in rather more than what to shout and when, please use this magazine to publicise them.  We do not want to turn into a training school, but a little more activity might be healthy.


Financial Statement for the Year to 31st July, 1975












Less expenditure

(rates 2 years)



(Water rate)

Insurance, 2 years)

(General Expenditure)


£  41.52

£  77.14

£  13.92


£  53.23







Carbide & Spares

Receipts, spares



£  16.75

£    7.40





£  24.15



Less Expenditure


£    0.92

£  23.23

Profit on purchase of rope for members




£    1.82

C.C.C. Permits etc.




£    4.90

Annual Dinner


Less Cost





£  10.50


Sales of Surveys

Sales of Publications


£  32.34









Less cost of



General Expenditure

£  49.50

£  70.31

£    4.63






£  39.75

Income Tax Refund


Repayment I.D.M.F. Grants





£    6.00

£  14.75

£  90.00

£  56.49







Belfry Alterations, 1974/1975

Postage and Stationery

B.B. Postage





£  22.50

£  77.47



Less Contributions



£  73.50


£  26.74



Less Fees



£    2.90



Car Badges


Les Sales


(Badges and Ties)


£    4.75


£  29.87



Less sales


£  16.37

£    0.25


£  16.12

Public Liability Insurance


Ian Dear memorial Fund Grant




£  55.00

£  13.78

£  35.00







General accumulated fund @ 31.7.74

Interest from Building Society Account 1975





£  14.58










£  56.49







Ian Dear memorial Fund, 31.7.1974

Interest for year 74/75





£  26.76






Less Grants




£  60.00







Lloyds Bank Limited

Cash in Hand

Building Society Account





£  50.78









1.                  This year's subscriptions account revealed that the receipts are £100 down and those of last year.  This is partly due to a drop in new membership, but mainly to a large number of members not paying this year's sub.  After inspection of the membership list, I was disappointed to find that the majority of these non- paying members are relatively old members of the club. 

2.                  The deficit on this year's account is basically due to the committee's decision to invest some capital in improvements within the Belfry.

3.                  The Belfry account should show a further credit of £140.  Unfortunately, many, cheques were received too late to be entered in the account.  It would have made this year's statement show a credit.

B. Wilton, Hon. Treasurer


Club Officer’s Reports - B.B. Report

The current volume of the B. B. can hardly be classed amongst the better ones.  It has been late for most of the year, it has missed one issue, it has come out in a variety of covers, or with none at all, and it will probably have less pages than last year.

The main reason for this state of affairs is the attempt which is being made to keep production costs down while at the same time honouring the wishes of the club as expressed at the last A.G.M.  This means that we have to rely on the good offices of members to produce covers, get paper cut to size, produce masters and so on - the alternative is for us to buy all these things, and put the cost of the B.B. beyond the club resources.

Members see the snags without seeing the advantages.  An estimate of the cost of a year’s production of the B.B. was made last October and came out at £110.  This does include postage, envelopes, staples etc.  A similar estimate was made last January and the figure had risen to £132. By March, the figure had become £164 and at this rate, a figure estimated next January might well reach the £200 mark.

Knowing that we already had enough paper donated for this volume, I actually put in a figure of £32 for the cost of production of this volume.  Since then, I have received further donations to the point where I decided to pay the remainder out of my own pocket this year.  Hence the cost of production of volume 29 will be NIL.

At the last A.G.M., the subject of the B.B. was discussed at some length.  I am in a position to put various figures to the club at the A.G.M. if required to show the actual economics of the whole situation.  The conclusion I have come to is that volume 30 (for 1976) should continue to be produced monthly.

Thanks should be given to Garth Dell, Chris Batstone and Gardon Tilly for their efforts in keeping production costs down.  Also to the regular contributors - especially 'Wig' for keeping the contents going.  If we are to keep the B.B. afloat, we need more effort in both these categories.  DONATIONS OF PAPER ARE ESSENTIAL and articles on interesting subjects are, of course, always welcome.  In common with many journals, inflation is hitting the B.B. hard.  As far as I know, the B.B. is the only caving journal to have passed its 300th edition, and it would be a great pity if we had to chop it drastically, or even cease publication altogether after nearly thirty years of production.


Donations of paper, masters and any useful material are always welcome.  Ask Alfie for details if in doubt.  All contributions are also welcome from small items. This size to long articles – and anything in between!


Club Officer’s Reports - Tacklemaster’s Report

Graham sends this in as he says for the benefit of all those who do not attend the A.G.M.

I could quite easily repeat myself and just copy out from last years report what I said about the treatment of club equipment, and cite examples of members not taking care of tackle. However, if you want all that, just look out your October '74 B.B.  The library holds a copy if you are new to the club.

Ladders and ropes are still missing after a year and can probably be written off, but tackle seems to turn up in the most diverse and peculiar ways: "I was given this by a bloke in the pub." or, "Our club's been using this rope of yours for years - do you want it back?"  These two examples give some idea of what goes on.

Whilst on the subject of ladder, there are many ways to roll one up, but only two or three are really good ways.  Generally, if I get to the store frequently enough, ladders incorrectly rolled have been put to rights.  All that any borrower has to do is to roll the ladder the way he found it.  If YOU cannot do this, then don't be too proud to ask someone else how it should be done.  We all had to learn sometime.

Fortunately, things are better than they seem.  All ladder is now repaired or remade and we have something approaching a thousand feet available for use.  We have an excellent stock of lifelines, both polypropylene and nylon including Viking quality nylon.

A large number of tethers are being made using Englefield clips on the ends instead of 'C' links. These clips are compatible with 'C' links and also somewhat stronger.  They do have the disadvantage that a karabiner will not go through them. Because of this, some tethers will still be made with 'C' links.  We are no longer using splicing to make eyes on the ends of wires, having gone over entirely to Telurit ferrules.  Samples made on our machine have been tested to destruction.  The Telurit did not fail and the wire broke at its normal maximum load. On regular occasions samples made on our press will similarly tested to destruction.  If anyone else wants to use the press, they will have to have lessons from me first.

The current policy of not using rope for S.R.T. (Single Rope Techniques or abseiling and prussicking) will, I hope, continue.  Most members who use S.R.T. are of the opinion that it is safest to climb on rope whose past history is thoroughly known.  Such knowledge is only possible if the rope is owned and cared for by the individual who uses it.

Many members have bought their own ropes in the past.  If YOU own some and it is now worn out, or you no longer dare trust it, please don't destroy it, for it could still have plenty of useful life as a digging rope. Become a donator to the club. (Hint, hint!)

The reserve tackle (ultra lightweight tackle and long lifelines) has hardly been used this year. I would like to think that increased use of S.R.T. is the cause, but it seems that few people are making trips that require such equipment.  Reserve tackle is specifically for trips off Mendip, so that the ordinary store is not unnecessarily depleted at weekends or at peak periods.  Yorkshire trips used to involve tackle every month of the year.  Not so now!

In contrast, digging tackle has been in use continually throughout the year.  Members should note, however that as with other equipment, the borrowing of digging tackle must be noted down in the tackle book in the usual way.  Digging ropes are not numbered, but borrowers should indicate how many are in use.

Finally, my apologies to anyone who borrowed standard ladder recently just after it had been remade, who then had the dreaded rung-slip.  All these ladders have rungs fixed with Allen screws, and these need re-tightening after the ladders have been stretched after load.  The matter is being rectified, but if it makes you feel happier, I'll lend you an Allen key in return for a pint!


African Journey

Malcolm Jarrett sends in this account from foreign parts and says that he hopes to be back on the Hill for Christmas.

After all attempts to arrange a holiday to coincide with the Pyrenees trip had failed due to my work in Saudi Arabia, I decided to visit East Africa, as it is only 200 miles from where I am working.  My employers paid all my air fares and several other friends were also visiting Kenya, as I intended to do, but I received a note from a friend suggesting that I should meet him in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where I was due to change planes.  He was passing through on his way to Nairobi from Cairo.

From reading the press, and from hearsay, Ethiopia to be in a state of turmoil and closed to visitors from my little grey hole in the desert.  It was not possible to get a yellow fever jab or even a visa so on arrival at Addis, I fully expected to be told to go on to Nairobi by air.  Even more intimidating were the hordes of Chinese in their flat ‘ats and grey suits.  No place for wealthy capitalists, I thought!  So for half an hour, I tried to make one of the gentlemen smile.  Not a muscle twitched.  Obviously they knew the evils of smiling at white devils and paper tigers.  Eventually I reached the head of the queue where my wad of sterling banknotes eliminated any problems of entry.  Within half an hour I was out of the airport, which subsequently became something of a record.

Immediately, I met my friend, Ian Coward, a college friend and occasional Belfry visitor and we hitched a lift into central Addis.  Despite military government, the city seems to work as well as any other although there are massive numbers of beggars and lepers in the streets.  After two days we were ready to set off for Nairobi.  Catching a bus in Addis is not too easy.  The stock answer to any question is "The bus goes now" and timing can be a problem as some Ethiopians work to a clock six hours different from local time.

Eventually we left the dank city at dawn and drove south to the town of Dilla.  Apart from two brief checks there was still no sign of tension and soon we were travelling through Ethiopia's lake country, part of the rift valley system. There are still some volcanic springs in the area although we did not have time to visit them.

From Dilla we caught a bus to Vabella, another 210 km south and the limit of the regular bus service. We got there in the early afternoon and decided that there was time to travel further.  We found the driver of a truck going south, but he didn't seem to know if he was going that day or the next.  Ian and I spent some time taking photographs of local children and then to our surprise, the truck went racing out of the village square.  We then heard it stop and found it at a store loading maize. The driver seemed to be totally uninterested to all around him.  This we later ascribed to a local drug, which seems to impart a sense of timelessness to those who chew this leaf.  Eventually, and for no obvious reason, the truck left.  The roads deteriorated now and there was no more tarmac although the road had been graded in preparation for tarmac laying.

A further 100 km brought us to Mega, a small hill town.  Gradually, the countryside was becoming less cultivated and termite hills became more common together with some small bush fauna.  After an overnight stop at Mega, the truck driver offered us a lift to Hidi. This village did not appear on the map and few people knew where it was.  We accepted the lift as the bus was not due for three days and continued south in the company of a goat and five small children.  The road got steadily worse and unfortunately the goat’s nerves could not stand the vibration, so it made a nasty mess of somebody’s shoe.  Seeing how uninhibited the goat was, one of the small children let fly.  This started quite an argument between the children's mothers, but neither child nor goat seemed very moved.

Hidi was in the throes of market day.  The market seemed to serve a social function more than anything else.  It can't have had much business, as everybody was selling each other the same things.  People carried spears everywhere and wore simple blankets.  I had my first fresh milk for four months - straight from the camel very good too!  We also tried an evil brew made from coffee beans fried in butter and floated on warm milk. This is, apparently, brewed for various pagan ceremonies but I dread to think what they might be.  We slept in the truck that night, to the sound of ritual dancing which was interrupted by the return of our travelling companion much the worse for chewing 'chat' (the leaf mentioned earlier) and drinking tej (honey beer).  Hidi was very pleasant, but still a long way off the main road and mil from the Kenya border.  Our truck driver seemed uncertain about where he was going and his sense of time had now vanished completely.

The day after our arrival at Hidi, a Toyota truck arrived.  This was quite an event for Hidi - two trucks within twenty four hours!  What was even better was that the Toyota was returning immediately to Moyale.  Was this our chance to get to the Kenyan border, we wondered?  Our hopes flagged again when so many people leapt aboard that the truck could not move. Then our original driver decided that he, too, would go to Moyale - mainly because there was nowhere else he could get fuel.  Ten minutes later, he scrambled into the cab and raced off across the village 'square'. We chased after him, only to find that he had decided to take tea at a different house.  Another ten minutes elapsed, followed by another mad dash across the village.  Ian and I decided to get back on our truck anyway and this was just as well because the next time he drove off it was on the road to Moyale - for two minutes. Yet again we stopped, and out came the driver who held some sort of ballot (based on how much cash rather than how many hands) to decide finally where we were going.  Eventually, Moyale was chosen and off we went to the border.

We reached the border in mid afternoon and passed through into Kenya fairly quickly.  Immediately after changing our money, we had the pleasant surprise of finding out that all the beer in Kenya has a government price control.  This was excellent news, so off we went to sample 'Tusher' lager.  Kenyan beer is an interesting phenomenon.  Quite often we had it so cold that the barman had to search for a bottle that was still liquid.  Pouring Tusher is a real art.  Even the best pour can result in a Watney Factor (ratio of head to liquid) of unity, and a real 'barmaid's pour' can achieve a frightening Watney Factor of nearly infinity!  Indeed, whilst experimenting with ways of eliminating gas by shaking in an exclusive Nairobi hotel, a large proportion of a half litre bottle scattered the barmen at a range of six feet.  Eliminating any gas ingested, in a civilised manner, is very difficult.  Quite often towards midnight, the unwitting drinker opens his mouth to expound on some topic, only to release a fortissimo belch.

Moyale had only one bar, as it was predominantly a Muslim town.  Fortunately we met a customs officer who offered us his room, so we went to bed - Ian under the mosquito net and myself on the concrete floor.  As Ian's luck would have it, this was the only place where we encountered mosquitoes.  Whilst he slept peacefully, I lay in terror while the little malarial kamikaze pilots dug into me with their proboscis.  Nightmares of 'O' level biology came to my mind, and for the next few days I was very thorough in taking my malaria tablets.

The Kenyan side of Moyale seemed to have many trucks, and after a short search we found a land rover going to Isiolo, nearly into Nairobi and well onto tarmac roads.  Unfortunately, he disappeared and we opted for a lift on a truck full of empty oil drums.  In the general haste to board the truck I forgot my camera.  After several days without a wash, the smell of diesel fuel made a pleasant change.

After losing my camera, I should have realised that it was not going to be a good day, and sure enough, things rapidly deteriorated.  The ageing Ford truck stopped several times; stricken by asthma and eventually it spent more time stationary than mobile.  The driver realised that all was not well and headed for the village of Soldo (sorry, Sololo - Ed.).  Many of his customers opted to remain on the main road and whilst they were dismounting, our land rover sped past on its way to Isiolo!  The truck got within sight of Sololo and expired.

By this time it occurred to Ian and I that neither of us mew anything about the carburetion of diesel engines.  The Kenyans attempted a number of curious stunts some falling little short of religion in their execution. Three supercilious whites standing watching didn't help.  Eventually, some time after it became obvious, they realised that the fuel filter was blocked, and got us back on the road.  Most of the travellers had lost interest by now, and vanished into the village, so we had a fairly quiet trip to Marsabit.  From Marsabit to Isiolo we got a lift in a government land rover. From Isiolo to Nanyuki we travelled by taxi and then arranged another taxi to Nairobi. Just South of Nanyuki we crossed the equator in heavily overcast conditions.  The taxi drivers are only supposed to take six passengers but at nightfall they completely flout the regulations.  By some sort of instinct the taxis meet in garages and we transferred to other taxis, all for an inclusive fare.  Eventually we reached Nairobi with 13 people in a Peugeot 404 - and a chicken.  The chicken arrived totally exhausted and collapsed in a heap asking to be curried.

So.  We had made it in exactly the time budgeted.  Nairobi looked exquisite.  After four months in Saudi Arabia, anywhere that offers fish and chips, beer and ham sandwiches is heaven.  The next day, we met two friends within two minutes of our previously agreed time and, along with two otters, decided to go south to Tanzania to see the Serengeti Game Park and the Ngoro Ngoro crater.

We travelled by bus down to Arusha at which place we fortunately met an Australian who was drilling for water near Lake Victoria.  He offered us a lift through the game park, past the Ngoro Ngoro crater and down Lake Victoria in exchange for a few beers.

Next day we set off for Serengeti, where we had a fine time in the reserve, seeing many animals and finally the Ngoro Ngoro crater.  This crater is of massive size and I guess big enough to hold Birmingham.  The Tanzanian government runs tourist hotels which cost £15 a night and have excellent views and cuisine. Naturally, we didn't stay at them, but we used their bars as there was still price controlled beer!


We tried to stop the night at a lodge, but they had never seen B.E.C. type people.  They found it impossible to see why we ate nothing; drank several pounds worth of beer and refused to pay a pound each to camp.  As the police post was miles away, they couldn't do much and left us alone.  Next day, we carried on our pub crawl, occasionally noticing wild animals and getting lost, arriving late at night at Mwanza, a town well endowed with bars and situated on the South Eastern edge of La Victoria.  Here, we reluctantly parted company with our Australian friend.

After two days in Mwanza, I had to rush back to Arusha in order to fly back to work.  (Another reason being that Kenyan beer is cheaper) "Only 12 hours" said the Asian travel agent - rubbing his hands as he took the money.  So it might have been if the bus hadn't broken it's suspension at 1 a.m.  Fortunately another bus came along with a spare part and some string and the problem was solved within two and a half hours.  We spent this time speculating on whether the driver would be crushed to death when the jack collapsed (he wasn’t).  At last after twenty three hours and a few more bits of we arrived back in Arusha.

This bus journey had much in common with others East Africa.  The driver often went for a spin around town before leaving.  In one town, the locals derived much pleasure in seeing two of us chasing a bus down the high street.  They all knew it had only gone to re-fuel!

So there we were back in Arusha. I got another night bus to Nairobi, and the others went off to the coast.  I arrived back in Nairobi at 7 a.m. after a two and a half hour customs stop. Despite what African people said to me, they did seen to favour me at customs posts - or was it the subtle smell from my rucsac?  I decided to spend my last night of freedom in a luxury hotel and I arrived fresh from the bus looking as if I had been down Manor Farm in the digging days. Next day I got up at 5.45 a.m. and went to Nairobi airport only to find that Ethiopian Airlines had sent too small a plane!  So here I sit, at their expense, in an international hotel.  Tomorrow I have another night in Addis and eventually I might get back to Saudi Arabia, but that could well be another story!

Editor's Note:     Malcolm says that he will be at Box 42, Kharis Mushayt, Saudi Arabia until December 15th.  As far as the membership list is concerned, his Birmingham address is best for the time being.


Letter to the Editor

Dear Alfie,

Having noticed Sett's letter in the last B.B. referring to the traditional Hunters Saturday, I thought I might set pen to paper to stir the controversy.  Not that one can dispute the fact that they 'orrible words is fast fading; at least all but the more 'orrible which need no effort to remember, but to argue that the cause should be laid against us and not Hunters.

Historically, as many members will recall, the 'Cavers Room' of Hunters, which has now been modified to become the lounge, was the second port of call for Saturday night bar room mountaineers, the first being the old hatchway to get beer.  The bar was then considerably smaller and catered for local customers, tourists and only a few cavers.  Thus, with the majority of cavers being in their 'own' room, when any singing started, the natural thing was to join in and one learned the words along the way.  In the summer the tourists came for miles to park their cars near the open window and giggle at those rude fellows inside.  However, at the time it was the practice to revert instantly to a rendering of 'Sospan Fach' whenever Ben appeared.  Later on this practice ceased and Ben was known to complain about the uncouth behaviour of some cavers.

When Roger modernised the Hunters, he recognised our need and set aside rooms in the remoter parts of the pub where we could gather and sing, but, unfortunately in some respects, he also enlarged the bar.  Nowadays, on any evening it is normal for us regulars to go to the bar rather than to the caver’s rooms - and in the bar we stay glaring at any intruders and only leaving for the calls of nature or time.

Still, on odd occasions such as when Maurice turns up and feels in voice, we lobby known aficionados and adjourn to the back room to sing.  Admittedly we are not always very successful, we have such complexes now that we automatically forget either words or tune (even both).  We often repeat a song for latecomers but we can still run the course of a Hunters singsong when we have a mind to. Practice is obviously what we need and if the Belfry after hours is the only place we can get it, then, when you've got it organised, count me in.

Yours Argumentatively, Mike Wheadon.

Editor's Note:     As I typed this, I was assailed by the horrible feeling that I had done it before.  It may have appeared in the July B.B. (A copy of which I do not beside me as I type this). If, in fact, it has achieved the dubious distinction of appearing TWICE in the B.B.  I trust that all will accept my apologies.


Monthly Crossword – Number 60 



















































































1. Lead another way to master cave? (6)
4. Alternative word. (2)
7. Did Ursus Spelaeans find its way round caves by taking these? (8)
9. Barrow this on Mendip. (4)
10. Its presence really upsets 7 across. (4)
12. Swollen ‘O’ was the foundation of many a caver’s garb in days gone by. (8)
14. Thus. (2)
16. Colour band in Rod’s bacon once – also describes a later barbecue occurrence. (6)


1. Short Cuthbert’s title. (2)
2. May have its uses in caving but surely not on lifelines? (4,4)
3. A hundred of these near the Belfry. (4)
5. Wookey, for example? (6)
6. Initial part of cave perhaps. (8).
8. Proceeds in this manner often underground. (6)
11. Do caves contain lots of this? (4)
13. Briefly all right. (1,1)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword





















































































Membership List

November is, of course, the month in which the club's annual membership list is published and in the event it turns out to be the biggest list ever, with 224 names.  We seem to have stopped the rot which happened when the sub was suddenly doubled to catch up with inflation and are back to our steady turnover of twenty members per year.  It is hoped, however, that the committee have learned the lesson as to what happens when the sub is shifted upwards by what turned out to be too large a step for many members to take.


The committee has been charged by the A.G.M. to look into the possibility of allowing school caving groups to become affiliated to the B.E.C.

The reasons behind the resolution which was proposed by Dave Irwin (who is secretary of the Council of Southern Caving Clubs) was that the Somerset Local Education Authority felt that the B.A.C.I. scheme for cave leadership was probably beyond the ability of many of its teachers and that the C.S.C.C. scheme - 'Caving for Beginners' - was too informal.  They suggested some sort of compromise on the understanding that, if C.S.C.C. was not willing to look into such a compromise, then the Somerset L.E.A. would be forced to run an entirely independent scheme.

Unfortunately, there are aspects of caving which cannot be ignored however much somebody may decide to 'go it alone'.  No one, for instance, would expect the M.R.O. to refuse to rescue people who refused to comply with the C.S.C.C. recommendations on novice training.  Since we are all involved with M.R.O. when required, we may feel that we cannot entirely ignore an 'outside' body like the local L.E.A.

Thus, C.S.C.C. will, no doubt, find a compromise which is acceptable to both sides - although not quite what either side would really like.  This compromise will undoubtedly involve the use of caving clubs - a point on which C.S.C.C. will probably insist.  Hence, Dave Irwin’s resolution.

The scheme, of course, will not stand or fall by what the B.E.C. decides to do.  The Wessex, for example, already have an affiliation scheme and would be able to take part without any change to their constitution or rules, thus C.S.C.C. would be able at once to steer any school caving groups towards the Wessex.  The question, as far as we are concerned, is whether we want the B.E.C to become involved or not.

The reason for spelling all this out at some length is because strong feelings were shown at the A.G.M. both for and against the idea.  Of the 34 members who voted at all, ten of these were so strongly against the idea that they did not even wish the committee to consider it.  A further ten were so strongly in favour that they said they would be happy for the committee to act without consulting them again. The remaining 24 said that they would not mind the committee looking into it, and would make up their minds when the committee had produced its findings.

As far as can be shown, the committee have no strong feelings, and are probably amongst the 24 who wanted to see what was being proposed.  Under these circumstances it would be a good thing if those who hold strong views used the B.B. to let others know their reasons, so that the club and the committee may get a better idea of what the thinking is on this subject. The editor is prepared to accept nom de plume providing that the author gives his real name to the editor.



Bristol Exploration Club - Membership List October 1975


Nicolette Abell

Ardtraskart, Greenway Lane, Bath


J.M. Bacon

12 Marine Road, Pensarn, Abergele, Wales

20 L

Bob Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol, Avon

392 L

Mike Baker

22 Riverside Walk, Midsomer Norton, Bath, Avon


M.D. Barker

Hunters Lodge, 4 Heath Road, Pamber Heath, Nr. Basingstoke, Hants


Arthur Ball

4 Charlotte Street, Cheadle, Cheshire


R. Bater

4 Butterfield Close, westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


Mrs Bater

4 Butterfield Close, westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


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

364 L

P. Blogg

5 Tyrolean Court, Cheviot Close, Avenue Road, Banstead, Surrey

336 L

Alan Bonner

Crags Farm Close, Little Broughton, Cokermouth, Cumberland

145 L

Sybil Bowden-Lyle

9 Beverley Close, Crithill Park, Frome, Somerset

751 L

T.A. Brookes

87 Wyatt Road, London, SW2


R. Brown

Cranleigh Gardns, Luton, Beds.


Mrs Brown

Cranleigh Gardns, Luton, Beds.


Viv Brown

3 Cross Street, Kingswood, Bristol


G. Buckham

13 Grosvenor Place, London Road, Bath


Tessa Burt

66 Roundwood Lane, Harpendon, Herts.


Alan Butcher

Address to follow


Ian Calder

Plas Pencelli, Pencelli, Brecon


Penelope Calder

Plas Pencelli, Pencelli, Brecon


R. Chandler

6 Blackcap close, Southgate, Crawley, West Sussex


Paul Christie

67 Keswick Driove, Lightwater, Surrey


Colin Clark

186 Cranbrook Road, Redland, Bristol

211 L

Clare Coase

5 Mandalay Flats, 10 Elsiemer Street, Long Jetty, N.S.W. 2262, Australia


J. Coleman

Little Green, Bunwell, Norfolk

89 L

Alfie Collins

Lavendar Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr Bristol, Somerset


J, Cooke

Lancaster house, Tondu, Nr. Bridgend, S. Wales

377 L

D. Cooke-Yarborough

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


Tony Corrigan

48a Talbot Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


Mike Cowlishaw

Hilston, Cleveland Walk, Bath


S. Craig

49 Stepney Drive, Southcote Reading


Bob Cross

42 Bayham Road, Knowle, Bristol


I.M. Daniels

Handsworth, Pilgrims way, Chilham, Canterbury, Kent

405 L

Frank Darbon

PO Box 325, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

423 L

Len Dawes

223 Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, London, SE10


Garth Dell

5 Hillground Road, Withywood, Bristol


J. Dibben

17 Nevill 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


C. Falshaw

23 Hallam Grange Crescent, Sheffield


R.J. Fisher

19 Alma Road, Portswood, Southampton

269 L

Tom Fletcher

11 Cow Lane, Bramcote, Nottingham.


D. Foxwell

87 Okebourne Road, Brentry, Bristol

404 L

Albert Francis

22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset


Joyce Franklin

12 Avon Way, Portishead, Bristol


Pete Franklin

12 Avon Way, Portishead, Bristol


Keith Franklin

Address to follow


R.T. Gage

36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Bristol


C. Gage

36 Woodland Road, Nailsea, Bristol


Leonard Gee

15 Warren Close, Denton, Manchester


Stan Gee

26 Parsonage Street, Heaton Norris, Stockport.


Bob Givens

Newstead Lodge, 1 Fields Green, Crawley, Sussex


Keith Gladman

29 Sheffield Road, Brentwood, Essex


E.M. Glanville

Jocelyn House Mews, Chard, Somerset


Martin Grass

14 Westlea Road, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts


Chris Hall

2 Upper Radford, Paulton, Bristol

432 L

Nigel Hallet

144 Stockwood Road, Bristol 4

104 L

Mervyn Hannam

14 Inskip Place, St Annes, Lancashire

304 L

C.W. Harris

The Diocesan Registry, Wells, Somerset


Chris Harvey

Byways, Hanham Lane, Paulton, Nr. Bristol

4 L

Dan Hassell

Hill House, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset


A.P. Hicks

3 Regency Drive, Brislington, Bristol


M. Henderson

28 Newgreens Avenue, St.Albans, Herts.


Rodney Hobbs

Rose Cottage, Nailsea


Sid Hobbs

Hokerstone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy


Sylvia Hobbs

Hokerstone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy


Mike Hogg

32 Birchley Heath, Nuneaton, Warks


J.H. Hookings

32 Churchill Road, Catshill, Bromsgrove, Worcs.

387 L

George Honey

Droppsta, 19044, Odensala, Sweden


C. Howell

131 Sandford Road, Edgebaston, Birmingham


P. Hudson

22 Glantawe Park Estate, Wind Road, Ystradgynlais, Wales


Ted Humphreys

9 Mounters Close, Marnhull, Sturminster Newton, Dorset


J.A. Hunt

35 Conygre Road, Filton, Bristol


J. Ifold

5 Rushgrove Gardens, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol


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

5 Bay Tree Road, Weston-super-Mare


M. Jarrett

12 Edgecombe Hill, Hall Green, Birmingham

51 L

A Johnson

Warren Cottage, Station Rd., Flax Bourton, Bristol

560 L

Frank Jones

8 York Gardens, Clifton, Bristol 8


Mrs. P. Jones

50 Louisville Avenue, Aberdeen


U. Jones

Marsh Farm, Askem in Furness, Lancs.

567 L

Alan Kennett

92 West Broadway, Henleaze, Bristol

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


D. Knowles

35 North Road, Watleys End, Winterbourne, Bristol

667 L

Tim Large

15 Kippax Avenue, Wells


Peter Leigh

Address unknown


P. Littlewood

22 Brockhurst Avenue, Burbage, Hankley, Leics.


Mrs Littlewood

22 Brockhurst Avenue, Burbage, Hankley, Leics


I. Livermore

9 Leystone, Close, Frome, Somerset

574 L

Oliver Lloyd

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


George Lucy

Pike Croft, Long Lane, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks

495 L

Val Luckwill

8 Greenslade Road, Sedgeley hill, Dudley, Worcs.


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


J. Manchip

Orwell Terrace, Edinburgh


A. Marchant

Manor Farm Cottage, Chilcote, Wells


I.K. Marshall

4 Kings Drive, Bishopston, Bristol


I. Marshall

7 Fairacre Close, Lockleaze, Bristol

106 L

E.J. Mason

33 Broadleys Avenue, Henleaze, Bristol

558 L

Tony Meaden

Highcroft, Westbury, Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset


D. Metcalf

52 Northfield Road, Peterborough. Northants.


K. Murray

17 Harrington Gardens, London SW7


A. Nichols

Address to follow


John Noble

15 Nash Close, Keynsham, Bristol


M. O’Niell

21 Wickford, Drive, Harrow Hill, Romford, Essex


J. Orr

Flat 2, Dorset House, Basingstoke District Hospital, Basingstoke, Hants


P.A. Palfree

10 Maynard, Clutton, Nr. Bristol


D. Palmer

29 St. John Road, Wesley, Bristol 3

396 L

Mike Palmer

27 Roman Way, Paulton, Nr. Bristol


A. Pearce

5 Colmer Road, Yeovil, Somerset

22 L

Les Peters

21 Melbury Rd., Knowle Park, Bristol Avon


Norman Petty

Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol

499 L

Tony Philpott

3 Kings Drive, Bishopston, Bristol, Avon


Graham Phippen

Rock Cottage, Rock Road, Wick, Bristol


P. Preece

20 Belvedere Road, Moortown, Leeds 17


Brian Prewer

East View, West Horrington, Wells, Somerset


Colin Priddle

10 Franklyn Flats, Kopje Road, Gwelo, Rhodesia

481 L

John Ransom

21 Bradley Rd., Patchway, Bristol, Avon

452 L

Pam Rees

Address unknown

343 L

A Rich

Box 126, Basham, Alberta Canada

672 L

R Richards

PO Box 141, Jacobs, Natal, South Africa


J. Ridler

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


J. Riley

67 Alfred Hill Drive, Melba, Canberra, Australia


Mrs Riley

67 Alfred Hill Drive, Melba, Canberra, Australia


I.P. Rogers

56 Charlton lane, Brentry, Bristol


P.G. Rodgers

56 Charlton lane, Brentry, Bristol


Roger Sabido

1 Longmead Avenue, Hoefield, Bristol 7

240 L

Alan Sandall

43 Meadway Ave., Nailsea, Avon

359 L

Carol Sandall

43 Meadway Ave., Nailsea, Avon


D.R. Sanderson

23 Penzance Gardens, Harold Hill, Romford

237 L

B. Scott

Merrymead, Havestock Road, Winchester Hants


Dave Searle

14 Silver Street, Midsomer Norton, Bath


Kathy Searle

14 Silver Street, Midsomer Norton, Bath


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

Address to follow.


N.K. Shaw

Queens Head Walk, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts


C. Shaw

Queens Head Walk, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts


M.B. Slade

230 Southampton Road, Reading, Berks.


Dave Smith

14 Severn Way, Tilehurst, Reading, Berks.


Andy Sparrow

6 Downsway, Salisbury, Wilts


J.M. Stafford

Back Plaidy, King Edward, Nr Turriff, Aberdeen.

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

381 L

Daphne Stenner

Address unknown


Richard Stevenson

Greystones, Priddy


Paul Stokes

32 Manor Way, Bagshot, Surrey


P. Sutton

75 Brendon, Yate, Bristol


J.G. Talbot

52 Galley Lane, Barnet, Herts.


Derek Targett

16 Phyllis Hill, Midsomer Norton


M.D. Taylor

15 Kennington Avenue, Bishopston, Bristol


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.


M. Thomas

5 Woolcot St. Redland, Bristol 6


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


Phil Townsend

20 Lime Close, Prestbury. Cheltenham, Glos.

157 L

Jill Tuck

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


Steve Tuck

3 Colles Close, Wells, Somerset


Tony Tucker

Address to follow


Sue Tucker

Address to follow


Dave Turner

Moonrakers, Brewery Lane, Holcombe, Bath


P. Turner

11 Harper Court, Honnington, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire


M.F. Turley

13 Cresham Walk, Tilgate, Crawley, Sussex

635 L

S. Tuttlebury

28 Butts Road, Alton, Hants.


J. Upsall

Gable End, The Flying Horseshoe, Clapham, Lancashire


Mrs Upsall

Gable End, The Flying Horseshoe, Clapham, Lancashire

175 L

Mrs D. Waddon

32 Laxton Close, Taunton, Somerset


Eddie Welch

18 Station Road, Filton, Bristol


Mike Wheadon

91 The Oval, Bath


Maureen Wheadon

91 The Oval, Bath


C.D. Wheeler

13 Greywell Avenue, Aldermoor, Southampton


Bob White

Address to follow


Barry Wilton

27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol


Brenda Wilton

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


P. Wilkins

55 Eighth Avenue, Northville, Bristol


Alan Williams

Address not known


C.K. Williams

Whitestown Farm, Cheddar Cross Roads, Compton Martin, Bristol


R.F. Wing

Penzance Gardens, Harold Hill, Romford, Essex


J, Widley

15 Nash Close, Keynsham, Bristol



31 Bath Road, Keynsham, Bristol


Note: Any member who knows any of the following omissions from the list above will greatly oblige all concerned if they could please supply any missing information.

Keith Franklin's address.
Pete Hamm's address.
Dr.A. Hicks's membership number.
P.Leigh's address.
Andy Nichols's address.
Pam Rees's address.
Tony Sharp's address.
Daphne Stenner's address. 
P. Stokes's membership number
Doug Stuckey's address.
The Tuckers' address
Bob White's address
A. Williams's address

And who has the membership 854 ?


Down the Chute

A Novice's First Trip - by Annie Wilton-Jones.

It is pleasant to welcome the newest member of the Wilton-Jones clan to the pages of the B.B.  Not only do they all cave, but they write about it as well!

The Chute

Caving was a completely new experience to me, and the nearer we got to Cwm Dwr, the entrance which was to lead us into Ogof Ffynon Ddu, the more nervous I felt.  My first sight of the entrance confirmed my worst fears.  A tiny metal door opened to reveal a concrete tube leading almost vertically downwards.  I stared at this chute in horror as the first three in the party disappeared down it.  Me next! My face was white; my stomach knotted in terror, but I couldn't back out now!  I slid down the chute into the blackness and reached a narrow gap through which the head of one of the group was passing.  (Why didn't I stick to my diet?).  Now the passage opened and I relaxed before the next hazard.

The Crawls

We appeared to have reached an impasse.  Where could we go?  Oh, no! Not into that tiny hole there!  But next moment, there I was, flat on my stomach, starting an apparently never-ending slither along a tunnel just wide enough for my shoulders.  Every now and then, the height of the tunnel increased and I was able to crawl (luxury!) but mostly I slid along using my elbows as levers.  After a few yards my elbows and knees felt really raw as the gravel floor bit into them, but this was nothing compared with the final indignity - a puddle about five or six feet long and filling the width of the tunnel, the roof of which, needless to say, was now at its lowest point.  I slid into the water like an ungainly water snake and heaved myself back onto dry lend with my long suffering elbows.


Now, at last, I could stand and I forgot about the appropriately named crawls as I moved into the underground caverns and passages where the beauties of various stal. formations awaited me.  Now I knew why so many people spend so much time burrowing underground like moles. Stalactites and stalagmites I had seen before but not the beauty of straws nor the precarious strength of a false floor stiffened with stal.  Sand washed into pinnacles by the constant drip of water or formed into a gigantic ledge through the years; these and many other delights were revealed to us as we passed from passage to passage, cavern to cavern.  To protect these natural phenomena, tapes had been placed round them by previous cavers as a warning not to get too close.  The manoeuvres necessary to avoid taped areas were often incredibly complicated.

The Main Stream

Then we reached the Main Stream.  It was smaller than I expected but it made up for its lack of size with the volume of noise it created.  The stream was shallow - no deeper at most than knee level, but I still did not trust myself in it.  As I walked along the bed of the stream, I felt carefully with each foot before daring to move.  I must here give full recognition to the patience of my party; their feet froze as they kept down to my pace yet there was no murmur of discontent.

"Up the Ladder and Down the Wall"

At last we climbed out of the water and into another tunnel about thirty inches high.  The next big challenge was there before me - a thirty three foot high wall of rock, twenty feet of which we were to ascend on a wire ladder.  My turn came too soon. I put my hands in the correct position and one foot on a rung; then, bravely, I moved the other foot.  The ladder swung, taking my heart with it, but once I got back in control I refused to be beaten and so, slowly but surely, I approached the top of the wall and clambered, gleefully, to safety.  "Now for a little exploration!" We walked; climbed, clambered and jumped for nearly an hour, stopping at one point for a much-needed snack. Then back down the ladder and into the stream again.

Home, James!

As we had now been underground for four hours, we started for home, but by a different route.  On the way back I decided that I did not like straddling wide gaps over seemingly bottomless pits - the knee tremble of the climber attacked me and I had to be gently talked through each move.  One gap was too wide for me even to straddle and I had to lean across it with my hands on one side and my feet on the other, with only friction keeping me in position.  "This is the life," I thought - wondering how long my life would last!

The Final Struggle

Soon afterwards, our passage met the passage we had entered by and we were back in the Crawls starting at the puddle and working back.  After five hours in the cave I was really tired.  My arms ached and pulling myself along on my elbows nearly finished me off. I was faring better than one member of the party, however, as my caving light was still reasonably strong whereas this poor unfortunate's light had faded to nothing.  His passage through the Crawls was punctuated with crashings and exclamations as bends and jutting rocks caught him unawares.  But now we were nearly home and little mattered except the final effort to pull oneself back up the chute.  Here, I failed miserably.  My arms gave up altogether and I had to be pulled from above and pushed from below until I finally emerged like a Jack-in-the-Box into the fading daylight six hours after I had left it.

Covered in mud from head to foot, my wet socks full of water and sand, my eyes half closed with tiredness, I made myself a promise - 'I'll be back'


Mik’s Peregrinations

I was just thinking that it was time I took up my pen again for another stroll over Mendip's mighty gossip columns - particularly now that Alfie tells me that 'Wig' is about to retire - although it could well be Christmas by the time I complete this and get it published.  (And it could well be Christmas before the November B.B. is out at the rate articles are coming in! - Editor.)

Now, where should I begin? Perhaps just a brief mention of our intrepid explorers John Dukes and Graham Wilton-Jones, with their sucessfu1 P.S.M. summer expedition.  Modest though they both are, their exploits were well in keeping with the normal excesses of the club, no doubt we can expect even more next year.

Next, in geological order in my memory, comes the A.G.M. which was once again reasonably lively even though there was no debate this year on the periodicity of the B.B. - perhaps because Tim wasn't there.  A further item absent from the agenda this year was the election, for although Colin, 'Wig' and Tony Sharpe fled the scene, the only replacements were Chris Batstone, Mike Wheadon and Roy Marshall.  Unfortunately, as far as I can see, there were several matters unresolved, such as insurance and affiliations.

Tony Tucker livened things up for a brief time by pointing out that his legs were too long for him to assume a comfortable seat in the new Belfry loos (big sighs of commiseration all round for Tony).  Anyway, the loos ARE installed and one of them is operational.  John Dukes reckons it will only be a short time before all the mods are complete and he plans to hold a working weekend some time before Christmas, so keep working.

Having surprised myself by doing a separate article on the dinner (that's one of the drawbacks of being a syndicate) my sense of time has been upset because it should slot into this column at about this point.  All the same, it seems to have been reasonably successful though there are cries for changes of venue and menu and a return of the traditional B.E.C. entertainment.

Still, if that's all you have to worry about, not to complain - you complacent bods.  Spare a thought for our friendly neighbouring club the Wessex, whose dinner on the 18th of October at the Bishop's Barn passed almost unnoticed.  What a far cry this is from the days not so long ago when their dinner was the one event not to be missed in the Mendip calendar.  Nowadays, the Absent Friends list outnumbers the attendance list.  Sad though this is, it is nevertheless true and whilst the reasons are not really our affair, we should perhaps learn and ensure that our dinner never heads in that direction.  One cannot but wonder whether it has anything to do with their turning the affair into a coconut shy.  Once again, their dinner was concerned with throwing and the would-be diner has the agonising choice between a lounge suit or a wet suit as dress for the occasion.

Changing the mood - it seems that the barrel season is beginning to blossom again.  On the list we had Chris Hallam and Martin G., Mike W. and Mike P. putting on two barrels between them at the Belfry after hours. No one seems to recall the reasons for the barrels but they were much enjoyed - though I think the exuberance of trying to extract day fees for drinking guests sets a dangerous precedent which should be forgotten with thanks to those too drunk to know what they were doing by contributing.

Finally, and to bring us up to date, I must mention the Shepton Dinner/Buffet which was again held in Priddy Village Hall.  Once again, the dinner was excellent and a great credit to the hard workers of the Shepton who organised it all.  There was plenty of food and plenty of plonk.  After the meal, the customary custard pie slapping sponsored affair (Butch v. Mr. N.) which, incidentally, only spreads food on the participants, took place and a reasonable sum was raised for M.R.O. finds.  Then came the traditional games - this year in the early stages with perhaps too much exposure - which demand a reasonable degree of skill and dexterity.  The Shepton were the victorious team, so honour was satisfied and we all left feeling very merry.

Lastly, definitely, I must make note that our Treasurer has finally lapsed by missing his first committee meeting since he was elected eons ago - he forgot!  Barrie is also working to try to get last year’s expedition members to the Lakes again this year, so pray for some snow for him!


Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany, by Wig

192.      O.F.D.: Following several years of negotiations, O.F.D., Britain’s longest and deepest cave becomes a National nature reserve.  Due to threats of quarrying by Hobbs Quarries, the Nature Conservancy has purchased most of the land above the cave.  O.F.D 1 and Cwm Dwr lie outside the Nature Conservancy boundaries. Access to the cave is being controlled as usual by South Wales Cave Club but it appears that a management committee may be required in the future.

193.      Conservation and Access drop purchase of Quarry Shares: At the 1974 Annual Meeting of N.C.A., it was proposed to attack the quarrying companies 'from within'. It was pointed out by C.S.C.C. representatives that this was a futile method of going about the job, and that little, if any, information would be available to shareholders.  In the South, good relations and an understanding of each others problems has been a framework built up over the years.  When the C and A group investigated the situation in a little more detail, it was found that the quarrying operations formed minute parts of large combines - so small in fact that no details were available. Anyway, to try to attack firms by the back door would merely set their backs up.  Once again, the south has been proved right.

194.      C.S.C.C. "Chuck out" N.C.A. Equipment Annual Report:  No doubt the C.S.C.C. will be in its usual position of 'the baddy' after the N.C.A. Annual Meeting on December 5th at Ingleton. At the C.S.C.C. meeting on November 29th, the annual report of this controversial special committee on equipment was discussed.  The report is couched in vague generalities such as "We should like to carry out testing on ropes."  In fact, there are no less than seven examples of "We should like… " A committee of four or five, living in various parts of the country, have suggested enough work to keep a well organised laboratory happy for many years!  In addition, the committee is to ask the N.C.A. for £200 for travel and administration expenses next year.  As most of these expenses are NOT covered by grants, this alone would mean a doubling of the annual subscription from regions.  For what?  A mountain of paperwork of NO DIRECT USE TO THE CAVER.  If this committee is allowed to carry out testing (and their technical ability is strongly criticised by C.S.C.C.) then a considerable sum of money is going to be required.

As a result, the C.S.C.C. has instructed its delegates to refer this report back to the special committee for re-writing to include details of costs and times for the work it wishes to do.  It is essential that cavers have any useful information that may be available, but the work must be carried out by people that have the confidence of the grass-roots caver and at a price that the caving world can afford.

Wally Wilcocks, the C.S.C.C. representative on this Committee has requested clubs to search their membership to find any professionally qualified technicians who might be able to help.  Also, let him know your views on equipment testing.  Do you want a committee to do it for you?  Are you prepared to trust the findings of people you're not certain about?  Do you want a potentially expensive body set up for which, indirectly you will have to pay? Let Wally, or Mike Cowlishaw know your views on these and related question.

195.      Southern Reps at N.C.A .Annual Meeting: Six people are attending this meeting. They are Tim Reynolds (W.C.C.) Fred Davies (N.H.A.S.A.) Mike Jay, (S.V.C.C.) Dave Irwin and Alfie Collins (B.E.C.) and Wall Wilcocks (W.C.C.).  The official minutes will not be available until late in January.

196.      New Book published by B.C.R.A.: The B.C.R.A. have withdrawn the text of Bryan Ellis's new book ' Surveying Caves' from David and Charles and are publishing it themselves.  Available about January price £1.50.

197.      'Descent' in political trouble: As readers of Descent will know, the Editor - Bruce Bedford - has given over two pages to the N.C.A., thus enabling them to publish news of latest activities.  The retiring Hon. Sec. (Jenny Potts) has criticised magazine for its irregular publishing dates and suggested that N.C.A. should spend money on a propaganda sheet.  Really, you know - beggars can't be choosers!

198.      Burrington Atlas: The B.E.C.'s popular 'best seller' is being reprinted with corrections.  Price and to be announced shortly.

199.      A History of Swildons Hole:  After three years in the preparation stage, this book has finally appeared.  It costs £12 bound in leather or £9 in rexine covers. Intended to raise £1,500 to finance the building of a workshop at Upper Pitts, it is being sold at about three times its production cost.  For a prestige book, as this is intended to be, it is very lacking in proof reading. I must admit here that I have only looked at the pictures and have not yet read the text.  The layout is untidy and there are some mistakes that should never have been passed - an inverted photograph; bad layout of photographs; small portions of text tucked away into corners; too much name dropping of people not really notable for the activities in this cave, and so on.  However, those with £9 - £12 to spend on a limited edition (300 copies) might be interested in obtaining a copy.  There are many interesting record photographs, but are these worth the money to assist Wessex build a workshop?  A good idea that has not met its specification due to bad editing.  A pity.

200.      Whernside Manor: As many of you already know, the Scout Association is withdrawing financial support to the centre as from next March.  Without any financial support to cover its annual deficit of about £15,000 the centre will have to close.  Various ideas have been looked into, including the possibility of forming a trust with NCA on its management board.  The Sports Council have stated that they do not intend to bail the centre out of financial trouble should the trust be formed - so the idea has been abandoned.  The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority have expressed their interest in the site with a view to diversifying its activities.  They are going to include Whernside in their budget for 1976/7 and hope that the North Yorkshire County Council will cough up the necessary money. At the moment, Ben Lyon and his associates are biting their nails hard.

201.      Further protection for Mendip caves: Rich Witcombe, C and A Officer for the Southern Council, has been quietly working away to get SSSI cover for Thrupe Lane Manor Farm and Fairy Cave Quarry caves.  The Nature Conservancy has agreed to extend the boundary of Stoke Lane SSSI to cover the Fairy Cave Quarry caves, but they are not entirely convinced of the importance of Thrupe or Manor.  Rich is now awaiting the publication of an accurate survey of Thrupe before taking any further action.

202.      More to be found?: Tim Large recently visited St. Cuthbert’s little known Marble Pot to find that a hole had opened up at the bottom of the shaft.  A rift led up dip(?) and off this a tight tube led with a promising draught coming from it.  Later pushing showed that it became too tight.  However, more work here might give more cave passage.


Once again this month we welcome both new members and two who have rejoined after having been away for many years: -

Margaret and Angus Innes, 18 Davids Close, Alvestion, Bristol.
Mike McCarthy, Flat 5, 26 Elgin Park, Redland, Bristol.
Nigel George, Homestead Garden Cottage, Wookey Hole, Wells.
Gary Cullen, 47 Eversfield Rd., Horsham, Sussex.


Monthly Crossword – Number 62



1. O, limited cod! (Conglomerated, perhaps?) (9)
6. Negative expression. (2)
7. See 5 down
9. Knot. (5)
12. Gruff was originally this according to some. (6)
13. Exist. (2)
15. Low pubs that sell anything? – No, sumps, in fact. (4,5)


1. Gay R.N. food?  Welsh rarebit perhaps! (3-2-4)
2. Short pound. (2)
3. A G.B. chamber contains mother? (4)
4. Worker, perhaps, in a place of mine in Cuthbert’s. (6)
5. and 7 across. You might well be reduced to crawling after this – but not in August, surely? (9,6).
8.  – or beef, coming first. (6)
11. Keen, like an old six and five hundred. (4)
14. Cider drinkers will recognise this abbreviation. (1,1)

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      G. Wilton-Jones

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

Officers Of The Club

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

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

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

Climbing Secretary         R. MARSHALL, 7 Fairacre Close, Lockleaze, Bristol

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

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

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

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

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

B.B. Postal                    BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

Spares                          T. LARGE,  Address already given

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


All views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin, including those of officers of the club, do not necessarily co-coincide with those of the editor or the committee of the Bristol Exploration Club, unless specifically so stated.

The Editor would like to appeal URGENTLY for more material for the B.B.  Small items are always useful for filling up odd spaces.  Of course, long articles are even better!