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Season’s Greetings

The editor would like to take this opportunity to wish all club members; all readers of the B.B. and all cavers everywhere a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,


Unless somebody comes up with a scheme for distributing the B. B. a damn sight more cheaply than the Post Office currently charges, the days of the large Christmas B.B. are probably a thing of the past.  Apart from a shortage of contributions, the size of this one has been chosen to be the maximum which will go for the lower rate when the limit is reduced next year from 60 to 50 grams.

Next month, the thirtieth volume of the B.B. begins.  The 29 volumes so far produced since the B.B. started in 1947 have been edited by a total of 7 club members, of which the other six have produced 12 volumes between them.  There are no prizes for guessing how many have been produced by your present editor.

It seems a good time to remind members that when I came back to the job in 1970, having retired in 1967, it was on a temporary basis until some new editor could be found.

That, of course, was five years ago now and nobody appears to be clamouring to do the job.  I am finding it increasingly difficult to carry on, at any rate to carry on single-handed because I get less free time than I once had and feel that I am not on Mendip enough to chase up contributions the way I should.

What I would like to suggest is that a volunteer be found who would be prepared - to start with - to give me a hand.  The details can be sorted out when a suitable volunteer is found.  From this point on, there are three possibilities.  The Assistant Editor can remain as such, in which case I would be prepared to carry on.  The Assistant Editor can gradually take over, in which case I would be happy to retire at whatever stage suited us. The third possibility is that the Assistant Editor would get fed up, in which case we would have to find another. By this means, somebody could come forward without committing himself (or herself) too deeply to start with. If they found the job to their liking, they could take it over completely.  If they did not, they could leave and some other bloke be found.  I would like the club to take this seriously, because I realise that I cannot do the job alone for much longer, so I hope the club will hear my plea for help!

Fairy Tales

Traditionally, the Christmas B.B. contains some element of would be humour.  Owing to the fact already mentioned that I am finding it hard to get people to make contributions of articles etc. for the B. B., a great deal of space is taken up in this B.B. by my own annual screed for which I apologise to one and all.

Yes, once more you are stuck with Pete Pushem and his band of mythical B.E.C. members - and once again, can only hope that the future as painted by this tale will never actually come to pass!



The Editor would like to apologise to one and all, and especially to our Membership Secretary - Angie Dooley for the errors in the list of members published in the last B. B. It appears that he did not have an up-to-date list and suitable corrections will appear in the next B.B.

The Hut Warden would like to appeal for MATRESSES, LARGE DINNER PLATES and DINING CHAIRS.  If anyone has any of these or other useful items, please bring them out or contact Chris Batstone, who will arrange transport,


Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany, by Wig

203.      Additions to the Library: Two large piles of new material are to be installed in the club library.   B.C.R.A. Transactions and Bulletins, and other club exchanges make good reading. The Limestone and Caves of Mendip has been purchased by the club.  This year it is hoped to rebuild the collection of cave surveys and these will be available for reference only because of the large capital sum involved and the difficulty of replacement.

204.      Who did it?  I'm led to understand that it wasn't Tony Johnson who donated the collection of C.D.G. newspaper cuttings to the club library.  Perhaps the kind donor would let 'wig' know who he was?

205.      Christmas at the Belfry: At the time of writing publication dates are not my problem! - it appears that a boozy time was had by all.  No doubt Mike W. will be giving a suitable account.

206.      Politics again: The N.C.A. recognises that there is a feeling throughout the country that cavers are not exactly happy with N.C.A.  Some, in fact, would like to see it go quietly into a corner and die.  Others see it as being purely an organisation for the cave politicians to play expensive games with, and producing a great mountain of paperwork.  As a result, the N.C.A. have formed a special committee consisting of Phil Davies (W.C.C.) Nigel Dibben (D.C.C. and B.E.C.) Alan Ashwell (S.W.C.C.) and Jack Rasdell.  This team is roving around the regions to listen to the caving population - to listen to YOUR views.  The meeting for the Southern Region is being held at the Hunters on the weekend of February 14/15.  If you as individuals have any thoughts about N.C.A. and how it should work then go ahead and speak your mind.  I realise that most cavers are cheesed off with politics or have never been interested in the first place.  However, there is no doubt that the need for a national body does exist.  Pressures from the Department of Education and Science; the Nature Conservancy; the National Parks add to pressures from bodies like Local Education Authorities, the Sports Council and the C.C.P.R.  The public are waking up to the fact that caves exist and are another source of leisure activity.  The horror of the situation is that very few of the people who are clamouring to use caves will ever become second trip cavers - the first trip will satisfy their curiosity.  Should cavers adopt an elitist attitude and try to close caves to outsiders by taking over control of all available caves?  Do we try to reduce the numbers of new participants by negotiation with the various organisations concerned?  To do either, we need a national organisation that can represent caver’s views.  Most cavers agree up to this point, but areas of disagreement start when we consider how the N.C.A. should operate.  Should it be the hub that directs all caving activity - or should it be something which merely keeps itself in a state of readiness to take on external problems when they arrive?  One last point.  Grants will only be made to a governing body of any sort - in our case to N.C.A.  Such grant aid is available, for example, to help establish permanent entrances to caves.

Editor's Note:     And that, unless 'Wig' changes his mind, is the end of 'Round and About' - the longest running feature which has appeared in the B.B.  Many readers have told me how useful they have found the information which 'Wig' has so consistently brought to our attention. If find that we cannot 'lean on' Dave Irwin to carry on, then the sort of information collecting that he has been doing is something that we need a volunteer to take on.  Failing that, we must hope that 'Mik' might be able to expand his activities and peregrinate amongst active cavers!

A very big and public 'thank you', Wig, for over two hundred items of news!



Cleveland Walk,
20th January 1976.

The Editor, Belfry Bulletin.

Dear Sir,

Having read item 194 in 'Round and About' I am, to say the least, incensed.

'Wig' has every right to his personal opinions, for many of which I have the greatest respect. However, this article seemed written purely to inflame the 'Them against Us' feeling that is destroying the credibility of the C.S.C.C. (which, of course, includes us.)

The setting up of an Equipment Committee represents perhaps the first action of the N.C.A. that is not purely political.  It is, too, likely to be of real use to cavers since the committee will give honest and unbiased reports on equipment; will liaise with manufacturers to produce new equipment etc.

The reaction from a few Mendip cavers has been 'anti' the Equipment Committee - it is so very easy to criticise and not so easy actually to do the work - but I can confidently say from many discussion in the Hunters etc. that most cavers in the region genuinely want the committee to exist.  I myself feel that it is in the interest of any active caver to at least give the committee a chance to prove its value.

Yours, etc.,
Mike Cowlinshaw.


A reply from 'Wig' follows.

Although this reply will be somewhat belated, as Mike and I will have discussed the current situation and hopefully cleared the air, an immediate reply to Mike’s letter before this happens might still be useful.  I feel that the comments I made were far from being critical except for a certain amount of journalistic licence in my title!  I was writing as a member of B.E.C. and not as the Hon. Sec. of the C.S.C.C.  It is, of course, difficult to wear two caps at once.  I merely reported that C.S.C.C. had voted to refer the Equipment special Committee's report back to them for a more detailed account of what they intended to do in 1976.  The report lacked specific details of their intended actions, and C.S.C.C. felt that it was not prepared to contribute towards the sum of £200 of their anticipated administrative costs that has to be financed by the regional and other constituent bodies of N.C.A. (these costs are not grant aided) without more specific details that were worth this high cost.  I'm sure that any club committee that spent £70 on the report issued by this committee (£70 was its cost) would have been thrown out by its club members in no time at all!

However, having said that, I hope that I balanced matters by asking for any professionally qualified person who was interested in helping with the work of this committee to come forward.  Finally, Mike's comment that local cavers want this committee to exist frankly surprises me, but if this is true, he'd better get them to attend a C.S.C.C. meeting and ensure that their views are heard.

Your editor (thinly disguised as the chairman the C.S.C.C.) would also like to make a comment on this letter.

The aspect of Mike's letter which I find a trifle disturbing is that the C.S.C.C. is generally 'anti' just about everything - and that this intransigent attitude is destroying its credibility elsewhere.

At the risk of sticking my neck right out, I feel that the C.S.C.C. have adopted an attitude of hard commonsense over the last few years.  The fact that this attitude has brought it into conflict with some of the other constituent bodies of N.C.A. is unfortunate but possibly inevitable.  The C.S.C.C. are not against things just for the hell of it, but because in many cases, they feel that they have thought the thing through and can see snags which might have been overlooked in the general enthusiasm for getting something done.

In the case of the report in question, it is vague.  I am sure that Mike, in his professional capacity at work, would not think much of a report which gave no details as to exactly what work was proposed, together with a cost and time estimate for each section of the proposed task.

Without such detail, we are in no position to know exactly what is planned.  For example, it has been estimated by two people independently (one of whom is associated with the special committee) that to write a realistic specification for the 'Cave Qualification' of ropes for use as lifelines, taking ropes which are already manufactured to a general specification, might cost from £30,000 to £50,000 if carried out in professional labs to a standard approaching that of a B.S.

Bearing in mind the authority that such findings may be credited with (even if the Special Committee did not intend their results to be used in this way) some people think that nothing less than an equivalent B.S. standard would be of any real use. Imagine a bloke saying “Our lifeline was a rope which the N.C.A. said would stand 50 hours of underground use providing it was visually checked between trips.  We did this, and it had only been used for a tota1 of 16 hours when the fatality occurred.”  Members of the Equipment Special Committee could be in for a pretty rough ride after such an inquest.  Like Wig, we are not saying "Stop it", so much as saying "Please tell us more about what you intend to do, so that we can judge if we think it is sensible, or practical, or even possible."


Northern Weekend

Another thrilling episode in the Wilton-Jones saga

by Graham Wilton-Jones

‘It is still more comforting to spend two trips, laddering on one and de-laddering on the other.’ (David Heap)

I can think of nothing less comfortable than doing two trips into Penyghent Pot, even if spaced by a week or so of work.  Perhaps carrying all the tackle in and out on the same trip could be worse, but our Fred had arranged better than that.  He had organised three groups; one to start early on Saturday morning and ladder the pot to the bottom; a back-up party to help tackle hauling through the canal as necessary; and us - Fred, Bernard, Brian, Throstle, Bucket and Graham - do de-rig.  We were to go down about mid day.

Originally I had decided to spend the weekend on Mendip, but a phone call from Bucket on Friday morning changed my mind.  So having dashed down from High Wycombe and endured the committee meeting, I forfeited the call of the Hunters and sped northwards, arriving at 1.30 on Saturday morning.  Not the best sort of preparation for a relatively strenuous trip later that day!

The days caving did not start well.  We were not at all welcome at a certain caving headquarters near Horton, where we had previously stayed on a number of occasions.  However, such pettiness was soon left behind as we climbed.  Jangling with hardware, up the slopes of Penyghent. Across the fields we saw the back-up party heading towards the 'Crown' - sensible fellows.  Up at the entrance to the pot, a small orange tent was the only sign that anyone was 'at home'.

By 1.30 we were all making our ungainly way through the canals and crawls of the entrance passage. The stooping, hands and knees progress and flat-out crawling in icy cold water sometimes half-filling the passage is not excessively arduous, but it can be slow, awkward and painful as it proved when we returned, tired and worn, with piles of tackle.

When we finally reached the first pitch we were all surprised to find two ladders belayed there. However, we soon discovered the reason, for up the passage came a party from a York club.  One of their members was ill, so they were taking him out and abandoning the trip.  This was just as well, as C.N.C.C. booking is required for this area.  We had access for the whole weekend and were more than a little annoyed to find the York party pirating this access.  Incidentally, this also meant that they were trespassing and this could have jeopardised a very carefully negotiated agreement with local farmers and landowners.  We were more then glad to see them come out.  Consider the implications of a cave rescue under these circumstances from the nether reaches of the system, and the ensuing uproar!

The second stretch of passage is designed for people who are five feet high and involves almost continuous stooping all the way down to the next pitch.  Fred turned back because of old injuries which this aggravated.  This section was soon over and, below the next pitch, we found ourselves lying flat in a bedding plane looking out over a big pitch with no sign of a ladder.  Had we read the appropriate literature more carefully, we would have been quicker to find the alternative descent to the left.  The first 18m (59 feet) section of this is free-climbable, but the ladder for the next 20m (66 feet) or so, hangs mostly free near one wall of this wind and spray swept pot.

The rift passage that follows contains a number of short, vertical sections, roughly half of which are free climbable.  Mostly we were in the stream, but occasionally it was easier or drier to traverse above for a while and climb down at a more convenient point. Suddenly the passage drops out of this joint-controlled rift, down a short cascade and into a bedding plane. A little bit of wading brought us into the Boulder Chamber - a brief enlargement of the passage with an aven and some large loose fill.

Here we caught up with the tackling party, led by Mick.  They had had some difficulty in finding the route in the Rift Passage, where it is possible to traverse at the wrong level (as in Dowber Gill) and so had lost time. While they now set off on the last section, we sat around to let them get ahead and consulted the survey. After some time and some food, we continued down between boulders and the edge of the chamber, back into the stream. Below the next pitch, in the half-flooded bedding plane, we came upon the slightly warmer water emerging from the inlet from Hunt Pot.  I had a look along the passage, but the thought of crawling in all that water did not appeal.  Bucket had to go up and look as well, and shouted back that he could stand up, and that the passage went on like that.  Disbelievingly, we crawled along and came, indeed, upon a brief rise in roof level, only to see B.C.T. crawling along the next bit of bedding plane, muttering excuses about not saying that the standing up section went on for ever.  We told him to come back and not be so silly, which he did. We continued downstream.

These final sections of passage are not joint-controlled but do follow the jointing fairly closely. This results in the floor being cut up with deep grooves, just right for twisting ankles or braking legs.  We therefore went more slowly and with caution.

We rapidly descended the next two pitches and caught up with the advance party once again, who were having some difficulty in laddering the final pitch – Niagara.  The impression on this pitch is somewhat of Niagara Falls, and the resemblance must be closer in flood conditions, but the pitch is short and easy like the previous one and can be free climbed out of the water.

Soon we were down at the sump, where we lingered a while - for the advance team had only just begun its exit.  Although foam was visible high up in the roof in places, we were not particularly concerned, since the forecast was excellent and conditions had been dry for some time. We had not gone far on the route out when we caught up with the other team again - and this occurred on several of the pitches.  The journey back to the surface was fairly straightforward.  We had abseiled down most of the drops and I was to self-lifeline out first.  However, this only proved necessary on the big, open 20m (66ft.).  On this I had great difficulty moving my Jumar up the rope, and hung on the rope several times to get more tension in it.  (Brian held it at the bottom).  I was therefore just a trifle upset when I reached the top to find this line, with a bight part way along it, casually draped over a rounded flake of rock and a bloke's hand on the top to stop it jumping or slipping off. After a few pleasant words about belaying, I lifelined the next man up and we started hauling tackle.  Except for one silly display of incompetence, when the tackle fell from a great height - scattering those below - all went well. I must stress that this incident was the fault of the collectors and tiers, not the haulers.  We only hauled the tackle up the 18m (59ft) and the 20m (66ft). On all the other pitches it was possible to carry it or hand it up.  Perhaps this was a mistake on the first pitch, for the take-off is rather awkward and carrying tackle up this was, at least for me, a great effort.  From the bottom of this pitch to the end of the canal was hard and the only thing that made me hurry was the thought of a jar at the Crown.

So at last we reached the entrance, after eight hours.  Willing hands appeared - I don't know whether they were from the laddering or the back-up team - and helped us out with the equipment.  Thanks, anyway, and thank you, Fred, for such excellent organisation.  You missed a good trip, but I shan't go again.  Once is enough for anyone!

The title of this article did say 'Weekend', so I suppose some mention of the following day should be made, Fred's house is not too far from a disused railway viaduct which has 70 foot (21m) arches.  After bones and muscles had recovered a little and I.B.S. had diminished, we went out for a couple of hours A & P - or S.R.T. - or whatever you like to call it.

I think that when I give up caving, I shall take up railway arching!


The Coming of The Mark III

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

It is a fine spring afternoon.  In the board room of British Caves Limited, the bright sunshine falls on bone china teacups and polished mahogany.  We are moving in very distinguished circles, for a board meeting is in progress.  The Chairman and Managing Director, Sir Percival Makepenny is speaking.

 “….and this, I regret to say, leaves only one last possibility. Gentlemen, I am in no doubt that our prototype Mark III cave is being sabotaged.”

The Marketing and Sales Director is head to mutter something about 'those rats from Plasticave'. Sir Percival turns towards the source of this interruption and continues,

"Commercial sabotage by our competitors can be ruled out.  We have got to look elsewhere.  The situation is so serious that I took the unprecedented step of meeting the Chief Executive of Plastcaves, Ted Tacky.  It seems that their research is proceeding on very different lines to our own, and we are, in effect, aiming at different markets.  We can hardly be said to be competitors at this stage, and they would have no motive for any form of sabotage.”

“Perhaps, Sir Percival,” smoothly suggests the Company Secretary, “You would give us a little more detail?"

Sir Percival absentmindedly picks up his teacup, mutters ‘Cheers’ and drinks it down, spluttering on the unexpected tealeaves.  “It would appear,” he says at last, “that Plasticaves are aiming at what one might call the coastal market.  Their new model is designed to float and can be moored on any convenient body of water. Of course, they are emphasising cheapness of installation.  I might add,” says Sir Percival in his best lecturing manner, “That British Caves have always aimed at providing a traditional cave, soundly constructed of British steel and concrete.  Speaking frankly, gentlemen, I regard Plasticaves' venture as little more than a flashy gimmick.  Supposing one of their new models breaks away from its moorings and drifts out to sea with a full complement of school cavers aboard?  Apart from the outcry that would occur if it sank with all cavers, can you imagine being seasick in tight bedding plane?  No, gentlemen, I fancy we can forget all aspects of Plasticaves."

There is a discreet murmur of approval, until the members of the board recollect that they are there to solve a problem rather than to slate their competitors.  Sir Percival clears his throat and returns to the main theme.

"The Mark III is of crucial importance to this company, and we must have it operational.  As you know, gentlemen, the Sports Council, for ease of administration, insisted at the time our first caves were put into service to cater for the growing demand for caves, that all cave should be identical in design.  That was why the so-call natural caves were all sealed up as soon as enough of ours and, I regret, Plasticaves, models had been opened.  At first, we had enough work just catering for the demand and the Mark I was installed over most of the country.  Then we developed the Mark II, which is designed to be erected above ground and which has proved such a great success in East Anglia and other low-lying areas where the deep excavations required for the Mark I were not really practicable.  The Mark III contains a number of new features which, if they are successfully demonstrated, will convince the Sports Council of the need to install them in all our existing caves to bring them up to a new uniform standard.  I need hardly add that the increased sales will result in a corresponding increase in Directors' salaries.  We must get the Mark III operational.

There is an awkward silence, broken Technical Director.  “I have on my staff,” he suggests,  “a keen young engineer who we might well entrust with on-the-spot investigation. He is both intelligent and discreet.”

Nobody else having any ideas, there is a general murmur of assent.

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

Sid Spanner, for it is he who has been selected for this delicate task, climbs wearily down the ladder to Checkpoint 13.  Once again, he looks through the view port.  He sees a narrow bedding plane through which successions of schoolboys are crawling.  He broods on his problem as he idly watches their slow progress.  All the mechanical systems work perfectly.  The adjustable squeezes adjust.  The hydraulics are spot on.  The ‘DRY-NORMAL-FLOOD’ control leaves nothing to be desired.  The automatic sump drainer, which can empty the sump in five seconds should a caver stop moving through, works every time. The only thing wrong is the new infra-red lighting, which enables the supervisors to watch cavers even when they appear to be in complete darkness, and even that fault is confined to a particular section of the cave.  Sid is baffled.  His gaze returns to the view port.  A particularly fat schoolboy is halfway through the squeeze.  With a sudden vicious twist of the appropriate levers, Sid closes the squeeze down two notches and sets the water control to FLOOD. He is losing his temper.

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

It is later that same day. Sid's temper has now been restored by two cups of canteen tea which he has imbibed in the Supervisor's Canteen - situated between Checkpoints 7 and 8.  Whilst in the canteen, he has become convinced that the decision to convert one of the earliest Mark I caves to this new Mark III standard has been a mistake. In Sid's opinion, the firm should have built a brand new cave.  Besides, he muses, this cave is on Mendip - one of the old notorious natural caving areas - now, happily, a thing of the past.  He distrusts the entire setup.

He decides to return to the problem area, that part of the cave quite near the bottom and viewed from Check points 16 and 17.  Arriving at Checkpoint 16, he looks into the bottom of the Main Chamber.  A small group of scruffy looking older individuals is passing through.  They must, Sid reflects, be some of the few club cavers left.  He returns to the ladder and descends once more.

At Checkpoint 17, all is now in darkness.  Sid waits for the arrival of the party he has just seen.  In a few moments, he starts to see their lights as they climb downwards over the concrete boulders.  They appear to stop somewhere between checkpoint 16 and 17.  One by one, their lights go out. Sid, now thoroughly alert, climbs rapidly back to Checkpoint 16.  It is now in darkness too.  He waits for the party to return.

To Sid's amazement, this takes nearly two hours.  It is only ten minutes caving from checkpoint 16 to the end of the cave.  Just before they arrive, the infra-red goes on once more. Sid Spanner feels that he is on the track of the saboteurs at last.  Promotion, he feels certain, is in the bag.

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

It is a week later. Sid has laid his plans well.  He has identified the cavers.  They are from one of the few caving clubs still in existence.  It is called the B.E.C.  Once more they have arrived at the cave and Sid has run down all the supervisor's ladders to Checkpoint 16 and opened an emergency door into the cave. He is dressed in old fashioned caving clothes like the B.E.C. party.  He squats behind a large boulder and waits.

Soon, the party approach the spot.  They have the sort of voices one would associate with their general appearance. They stop quite near the place where Sid is crouching.

"Any ruddy Weegees about, Fred?"

"All clear, Pete."

"Right lads, drift over and do, your stuff, Ron!"

The man called Ran comes almost to where Sid is hiding.  Pulling some sort of instrument from his pocket he applies it to a spot on the cave wall.  Whatever he is doing takes a little time.  Presently he removes the instrument and takes from his pocket a little tube through which he squints in all directions.  "O.K.", he calls, "All I/R's are off!"

From his place of concealment, Sid reflects that he has just witnessed an illegal act.  These B.E.C. cavers, he grimly notes, shall pay dearly for this.  But more is to come.  Before his astonished gaze, one of them tugs at a section of cave wall which slowly swings outwards.  One by one, the party disappear through the resulting hole.  The last man pulls the wall section back into place after him.

Sid waits for a few moments before getting up and going over to the wall to investigate.  To his surprise, it is a concealed emergency door, of the type fitted to all British Caves so that supervisors can, if necessary, get into the cave from the supervisors section.  However, this door is fitted where no door should be according to the plans.  With some misgivings, Sid opens it and sets off into the blackness beyond.

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

Sid's first reaction to his new surroundings is one of professional chagrin.  This new section hardly looks like a product of British Caves Limited.  He doubts whether it even conforms to the British Standard.  Sid examines the wall closely.  It is not like the rough imitation stone of a cave section or like the smooth concrete of a supervisors section.  It does not even look as if it has been manufactured at all.  With a sudden start, Sid realises that it has not been.  He is in a natural cave.  With a totally unaccustomed feeling of not knowing what to expect, he moves cautiously onwards.  He is now in a chamber of sorts, with rocks strewn most untidily and unprofessionally all over the floor.  Suddenly, he hears faint sounds of the party returning and conceals himself once more behind a large boulder. As they approach, he realises that they are talking and he catches a fragment of their conversation as they pass by his hiding place on their way out.

“It's no ruddy use, Fred.  We might be able to keep up this ruddy caper a bit longer, but sooner or later one of their ruddy engineers is bound to catch up with us.”

“There must be something we can do, Pete.  We’ve always managed to be one up on the system se far.”

“We’re getting blinded by ruddy science this time.  When we got Sam to apply fore a job as a supervisor, he slipped up by talking about sump 2.  Clean forgot British ruddy standard caves have only one sump”

The words become blurred as the party continues on its way out.  Sid waits until he hears the door shut before switching on his light.  His course is now clear.  He will beat them to the entrance by using the supervisor’s ladders and get the Cave Manager to detain them as they surface.  The company will, no doubt, bring charges against them. After a few formalities, he will be free to leave and get back to the company headquarters - to receive congratulations and, no doubt, promotion.

Meanwhile, the cave remains utterly silent, save for the quiet drip of water from somewhere nearby. Quite suddenly, Sid is seized by a desire to know what lies beyond the chamber he is in.  He cannot understand what is happening to him.  He is in the grip of something which, although suppressed by years of training, has nevertheless been lying dormant within him. It is the natural urge to explore. His promotional prospects suddenly forgotten, Sid starts off purposefully in the opposite direction.

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

It is a few hours later. Sid has free-climbed two pitches; pushed his way through several squeezes and wad through a deep canal. He turns the next corner and finds himself in a beautifully decorated passage.  The variety, quality and sheer quality of the formations take his breath away. Compared to the few miserable-looking bits of formation contained in a British Standard Cave, these are fantastic.  Sid's professional manner re-asserts itself as he starts to compute how much a passage like this would cost to construct - only to be relegated to second place, in his mind for ever as he realises that one cannot put a price on beauty.  Taking care not to damage the place in any way, Sid sits down and contemplates the scene. He remains motionless and silent for some time.  He is thinking hard.  At last, he gets up, takes one last look at the passage and starts to make his way out as quickly as he can.  He has a lot of hard work ahead of him and very little time to spare.

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

Once again, we are back in the board room of British Caves Limited.  As one might expect, Sir Percival is in the middle of a lengthy speech.

"….the excellent report by Mr. Spanner which I am sure you have all read thoroughly.  It was, of course, a great disappointment to find that the new infra-red lights suffer from technical disadvantages which I have no doubt you have grasped from the paper."

There is a pause while Sir Percival drinks his tea and hands the empty cup to his secretary muttering some thing about ‘another round’.  The members of the board are all trying to look as if they understand the subject of infra-red illumination - with varying degrees of success.

" However," continues Sir Percival, "it is a matter of great comfort to know that any form of sabotage has been ruled out completely although, without the new lights it is difficult to see enough advantages in the Mark III to be able to put a convincing case to the Ministry."

The members of the board all assume expressions of intelligent interest and concern.  This latter comes easily to them, as the promised increase in directors salaries will not, presumably occur.  Sir Percival, however, has something up his sleeve.

"I must confess, gentlemen, that until a few hours ago, the situation hardly looked promising. However, just before this meeting, I was handed a second report by Mr. Spanner.  It outlines an entirely new scheme.  Briefly, the entire supervisory system is to be controlled from a central monitoring room by a single operative.  He will be able to view any part of the cave by television cameras and to control all the hydraulic and mechanical systems by suitable electronic controls.  The saving in manpower is very significant.  Even the registration clerk is to be replaced by a computerised system which will record all visits to the cave and persons below at any time, I will not bore you with the details, but I might add that the suggestion has my full approval.  The only difficulty appears to be that we do not at present have an Electronics Department.  I suggest that we form one without delay.  We will, of course, need a suitable man to lead this new department. I would welcome any names you might put forward."   Guided by these broad hints, the board unanimously appoint Sid to this new job.

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

It is now several months later.  It is, in fact, Christmas Eve.  In a cosy Mendip Pub, the members of the B.E.C. sit morosely drinking.  For months now, the only natural cave still open has been denied them by gangs of men installing new electronic equipment in the artificial cave above it.  It is certain in their minds that the door they persuaded one of the original workmen to fit when the cave was being constructed has now been discovered.  So low are their spirits that Fred Ferrett has just bought a round without protesting that he bought the last one. A caveless future stretches grimly before then as they gaze unhappily into their pots.

Out side the pub, a car crunches to a halt in the crisp snow.  It is a brand new Range Rover.  It belongs to Sid Spanner who has just returned from the successful trials of the Mark III and has seen the contract signed for the modification of over two hundred caves to the new standard.  It is widely rumoured that he will be offered a seat on the board of British Caves Limited.

As Sid gets out of the car, he looks thoughtful almost worried.  A trifle nervous.  It is one thing, he muses as he walks towards the front door, to force ones way to the top of a large company.  It is quite another to attempt to join the B.E.C.  However, he is not without hope, for there are aspects of the new improvements which - so far - are known only to himself.  There is the small box he is carrying in his left hand coat pocket for instance.  When this box is switched on down the cave, it becomes impossible to activate the T.V. cameras in its vicinity.  Thus, a party can move about the entire cave unobserved.  There is the other small box in his right hand coat pocket, which operates the gear on the door leading to the natural cave below.  There is also the fact that a new cave has been ordered for Mendip and that some privately commissioned work has established the existence of a large and hitherto unexplored cave below the site which British Caves have been persuaded to recommend.

Even so, Sid thinks as he enters the pub, the B.E.C. doubtless have their pride.  They may well consider that he is trying to buy his way in.  Perhaps if he bought them enough beer?

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

It is much later that same night.  The hour is just past midnight.  Technically speaking, it is now Christmas Day.  At the Belfry, nothing stirs.  The moonlight, filtering through the icy windows, falls on the motionless figure of Pete Pushem as he lies stretched out on the floor, his pint pot still in his lifeless hand.  Nearby lies an ungainly heap consisting of Ron, Fred, Sam and Sid.  Slowly, this heap stirs and the figure of Fred Ferrett detaches itself.  He staggers outside.

The quiet of the night is suddenly broken by a characteristic sound.  It is Fred honking.  He staggers back, closes the door, trips over Sid's feet and falls once more on to the top of the heap.

"Merry Christmas!" he mutters thickly as he sinks into a deep stupor.


 “…….there’s this computer”

Club members holidays like club members, are never ordinary affairs as this contribution from Janet Setterington shows.

It was going to be 'that sort' of holiday.  It was obvious from the moment that Sago and Sett said "There's this computer that we want to have a look at near Carnac.  We want to do a lot of work and mix in a little wine, a little food and a little conversation."  So that was how we came to take a house on the Quiberon Peninsula of Brittany during the late spring for Sett, Sage, Tich Set Jan, Julian and Vanessa.

Armed with everything from pamphlets by Thom. (and if you don't know who he is, you're lucky!) to toothbrushes the advance party set out to make the crossing from Plymouth to Roscoff.  Sage was to follow later.  Nothing untoward happened except that we nearly missed the boat entirely due to the rotten timekeeping of British Rail that particular day - oh, and Vanessa distinguished herself by depositing her tea all over the floor (deck) BEFORE they had untied those ropes that stop the boat floating off before the car doors are up.  Having cleaned up the mess and persuaded the offender to get some sleep, we settled down for a pleasant crossing.

If you like globe artichokes, Roscoff is the place for you in the springtime.  We left the boat and for over half an hour drove through fields - acres - masses of them, all ready for picking.  It was a sight to gladden the heart and stomach of a true devotee. Leaving the gleaming, green globes, we continued south across Brittany, along lanes lined with foxgloves and other flowers that are fast disappearing from our own hedgerows, to collect the key to our house from the watch repairer in a tiny Breton village.

We drove on south, and suddenly, there it was - the computer.  The great, grey stones of Carnac.  Some of us had seen them before and were pleased to see the impression that they made on the uninitiated, who thought that Stonehenge was the be-all and end-all of megalithic calculators.  Compared with Camac, Stonehenge is merely pocket sized - the sort of thing an adoring wife would buy her husband for Christmas.

We found our house in the village of Kerhostin with aid of a local map and, having unpacked little Wol, we sat down to a meal of bread, cheese and wine.  Then Sett indulged in the age old B.E.C. pastime of 'sleeping it off' while the rest of us drove slowly into Quiberon to do a mammoth 'shop'.  While we were there, two of us bravely tested the sea for bathing and found it was cold enough to etc.  Titch and Vanessa were very amused.

The advance party was supposed to recce the area but what actually happened was that Jan went down with the tummy bug, feeling decidedly queer in a hypermarket and needed nursing. Still, she recovered enough to cook a couple of memorable noshes; at least, they would have been if the wine had not set in.  Then, the day before Sage was due, disaster struck.  Sett was overcome by the Revenge of Montezuma and was forced to take to his bed, so it fell to Titch and Jan to drive back to Roscoff for our friend.

Leaving dad to the mercies of Julian and Ness, we started out before the dawn to meet Rice off the seven a.m. boat.  It was a long journey and everything would have been fine if a big French lorry hadn't tried to use our bit of road while we were standing on it.  Little Wol's near side was somewhat modified, and the lorry had the mud knocked off his bumper.  Still, as Jan had a witness, Sett didn't kill her, and even allows her to drive the car again – sometimes!

The return from Roscoff was not so eventful and we actually stopped and did some sightseeing at the lovely old slate-covered market at Le Faouet.  On reaching Kerhostin we got down to the serious business of the trip and had an enormous fish souffle, washed down with an adequate supply of vin blanc.

Having decided that we loved our stomachs, it was with difficulty that we set out to see the Grand Menhir, which lies at Locmariaquer and is the centre of the complex.  The menhir, which is broken in five pieces, 64 feet long and when standing could be seen for many miles around.

Then we set out on our tour of the alignments.  They are spectacular - of that there can be no doubt.  Sett and Sago were like a couple of small boys let loose in a toy shop. Measuring; calculating; sighting and arguing they kept us enthralled for several hours.  The consensus of opinion was, in the end, that the whole thing was a lunar observatory as, indeed, the books said.  Numerous expeditions were made to see the larger, more important outlying stones, but if you want to know the significance of them you will have to talk to Sett - as maths and astronomy are not the writer's strong points.

We contemplated the purpose of this vast structure beside a lake in the golden afternoon sunshine with a delicious picnic laid out in front of us.  Golden hours indeed.

A grand tour round the Golfe du Morbihan was also on the agenda and it was interesting to see, in some areas, the locals still recovering salt from brine pans.  The little piles of white crystals look like mountains in miniature when the sun shines on them.  During this tour we went to look at the ruins of a chateau at Suscinio. The relevant government department is in the throes of restoring this fantastic old building, and we were impressed with the lengths to which they were going.  It is far from being 'pretty-pretty' as many of the buildings of the Loire, but it is a real, solid, working castle complete with a moat full of water.

The areas in which we stayed is renowned for its seafood - oysters in particular.  One Sunday we set out for some lunch.  Actually, we were supposed to be on the lookout for some crepes, but we were all hoping.  We found our oysters and made pigs of ourselves; then we showed what gluttons we were by downing some delectable crayfish - and that was just the fish.  The memory lingers.

The crowning achievement as far as food went was Sago's exhibition of how to eat mussels.  Julian and Vanessa opted out and went for omelette. Between four of us there were nine pounds of moules - cooked in a little white wine and served with a sauce of white wine, tomatoes onions and herbs.  The shellfish filled a large tureen, two large casseroles and a large meat dish.  Each adult was equipped with a washing-up bowl to take the debris.

The great eat-in began. Jan soon dropped out and moved on to the more mundane salad and cheese.  After a couple of pounds, Sett called it a day and Titch soon followed - but Sago kept right on eating.  Mussel after mussel found its way down his throat.  The procession was endless.  In spite of pleas to his better nature; the state of his digestion and the possible state of the loo at some later hour, he kept going.  It should be pointed out that the fish were accompanied by large chunks of bread and were washed down with copious draughts of wine.  Few of us can have been privileged to witness such a feat of Falstavian eating.  Eventually, with a regretful look at the almost empty dish, he stopped. Replete.  Then, with beaming face and jovial tongue, he helped clear the board and wash the dishes.  And, do you know, he had not one twinge of discomfort - the lucky……. What a man!

While in Camac we visited the local museum.  It is almost exclusively devoted to prehistoric exhibits and was founded by a Scot - J. Miln.  We also had a look at the church of St. Comely, patron saint of horned cattle.  This building is unique in Brittany.  It dates from the 17th Century and boasts a porch that is surrounded by a canopy in the form of a crown.  Michelin describes the roof as being 'covered with curious paintings'.  These pictures are obviously very old and show the life of Christ from his birth to death.  They are painted directly on to the wood and the colours have suffered somewhat, but they are well worth looking at.

We tried to view the interior of the St. Michel tumulus but the guide didn't seem terribly anxious to take us round.  However, since they had visited it on the recce, Sett and Jan were able to assure the party that it was quite like other tumuli – dark.  So everyone was satisfied.

Inevitably all good things come to an end and we had to come home.  And that was a pantomime.  You will have gathered that we were six in number, plus vast quantities of luggage. How, do you ask, did we fit everything and everyone into a B.L.M.C. 1300?  It wasn't easy, but we managed.  Nobody is going to pretend that Titch, Jan, Julian and Vanessa were comfortable in the back - being covered with old coats; cameras; compasses and all sorts of things that the 'boffins' had thought that they might need.  However, they bore it nobly.  The final indignity came when an extra load of 18 litres of rough French plonk was hurled in on top of them and they were not allowed so much as a sip.

At Roscoff, we found a right old picnic.  The Dockers had just ended a dispute which had held up many voyagers and the owner of the shipping line had that day to throw his boat open to the locals.  It was rather a battle to get on board and a fight to get up the companionways beset by Frenchmen oozing free booze. Still we made it.

On getting home we found that we hadn't had a working holiday at all.  Really, all that we had accomplished had been an eating extravaganza. So we shall have to go again. That's the nicest thing about Carnac, it's an excuse that isn't likely to run away!


Monthly Crossword – Number 63



















































































1. Tall brows as belay points? (9)
5. Passage which provided more water to 4 down. (5)
7. One of twelve perhaps, made during a survey? (4)
8. Knot. (5)
9. Edges of pool in this tone. (4)
11. Collective description of other clubs in the Mendip scene. (4)
12. One of two dry alternatives to 13. (5)
13. ….and the other one. (3,3,3)


1. Caves found on Mendip or in Firth. (5,4)
2. Common to Eastwater, Nine Barrows, Stoke, etc. (4)
3. Galena?  Pyrites? (4)
4. Waste Mary underground? (9)
5. Individual entries on a list of gear, perhaps? (5).
6.  Both caves and cavers get this on occasion. (5)
10. Type of cave represented by an exclamation in the South-west. (4)
11. Short Mendip Templar? (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

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.


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.



Next Years Committee

To some folk - no doubt - the club committee may look like a collection of people who spend their time nattering away and getting nowhere.  Nevertheless, they represent each year the nine people who YOU elect as being the best for running the club.  Once a year, you get a chance to do something about it - and the start of this process is about to happen once more, with the annual request for nominations for the 1974/5 committee.

You have until Saturday 7th September to nominate new people for the committee.  Present committee members are automatically nominated unless they wish to retire  - and we shall not know who might wish to retire until the next meeting of the committee on September 6th.  In everybody’s interest, it is important to have an election - and to make sure that this happens, we need plenty of candidates.  This is where you come in.  If you feel that somebody you know would make a good committee member - or that you yourself would fill the bill - then make sure that a suitable nomination gets in to Alan Thomas in time.  These are difficult times for a club like ours, and it is in times like these that we want the best people.  There is nothing worse than having to carry on without an election just because no new candidates have come forward.

The procedure is simple enough.  All you have to do is to make sure that the person or people you nominate will agree to stand if elected, then write to Alan saying that you wish to nominate whoever it is and that he or she is willing to stand if elected. SIGN the piece of paper and put your membership number in if you can remember it.  You don 't need a seconder and you can nominate as many people as you can persuade to stand!

It is a trifle early to say, but it looks as if the total club membership this year may have DROPPED from last years' level.  If this is so, then it will be the first time this has happened to the club.  However, we must keep a sense of' proportion about this and there is no need to panic.  After all, membership cannot KEEP on rising for ever, and it would not necessarily be a good thing if it did.  On the other hand we might start asking ourselves whether we do enough to keep our older members still interested in the club.  Perhaps some of the older B. B. readers might care to comment on this?

You will find full details of the dinner arrangements in this B.B.  Bearing in mind the complaints over the years of poor food and lack of value for money, a real attempt is being made this year to provide a better meal. Those who went to the successful Grampian Dinner last year will be pleased to hear that we are having the same catering.  Drinks are being supplied by Roger Dors who is, or should be, well known to all. Roger, of course, understands cavers so we can rest assured that the drinks will be in capable and experienced hands.  In addition, there will be an entertainment in the club tradition - by the same team that produced 'Oliver' a few years ago.  Only two things about the dinner deserve further comment.  Firstly, the time.  The Hon. Sec. has picked 6.30 for 7 p.m. so that there will be plenty of time for a full evening's worth.  With the A.G.M. starting at 10.30, there should be plenty of time for collecting wives etc.  Secondly, the price.  At £2, this is higher than we have been used to, but inflation and V.A.T. make up most of the increase, and in any case, we feel that members would sooner have an eatable meal and reasonable drink prices than save a few pence on a poorer meal. Lastly, we have been asked by the Hon. Sec. to remind members that they are responsible for the behaviour of their guests.  The throwing dinner occurs a little later in the year than the B.E.C. dinner, and members are asked not to practice for it at ours!



Club Officer’s Reports 1974 - Hon. Librarian’s Report

The past year has seen another sizeable expansion to the club library which includes the addition of several important books.  Club exchanges have been increased and publications of the Grampian ( Scotland) and Santander University ( Spain) are amongst the more important of these. Gifts of publications and books are always gratefully received and those from Phil Kingston; Martin Mills; Chris Howell and Nigel Taylor among others have swelled the number of book, surveys and other publications.

The club has purchased several items, including Current Titles in Spelaeology 1973, British Caver Numbers 61 and 62.  Caves of the Avon Gorge No 2 and Limestone and Caves of North West England.  The purchase of Limestone and Caves of Mendip has been agreed by the committee when it is published.  Northern Caves Volume 5 has also been added to the collection.

Usage of the library has continued, and nearly 100 borrowings during the year have proved the worth of the collection.

Attempts to fill gaps in runs of various publications is proceeding slowly and these items are being bound into volumes by Kay Mansfield.  I would like to record our thanks to her for this generous help.

Space is now an acute problem, and timber is being accumulated to increase shelving and build the frame to house the various loose surveys.  It is to be hoped that club members remember that when they borrow items they do so for a period of ONE MONTH only.  Several overdue borrowings have been excessive, to say the least.

Dave Irwin,
Hon. Librarian.
1st August, 1974.


Club Officer’s Reports 1974 - 2. B.B. Editor’s Report

On the costing side, the year has been one in which inflation has really started to bite. However, thanks to the enterprise of a few club members (and one in particular who wishes to remain anonymous) adequate stocks of paper have been built up, which are sufficient to see us well into next year.  By this means, a substantial amount will be saved on purchase of paper for future issues

Not content with this, we have gone over to a much cheaper paper master and again, have stockpiled over two year’s supply which represents a further large saving.  Covers have also come under review.  Here, we have placed an order for only enough to see us through this volume, and meanwhile we are experimenting with printing our own.  If we can do this, we shall save another very large chunk of money.  In all, the 1974 B.B. has cost less than the 1973 B.B.  The only aspect of costs that remains to be investigated is the postal side. Perhaps an extension of the hand delivery system might help here.

With the position of stocks so healthy, and with the B.B. actually costing less to produce, while raw materials, printing etc. are rising rapidly, it seems a pity that the only black spot is the shortage of contributions.  So bad was this earlier in the year, that only by reprinting from old B.B. 's and republishing from other sources could the size of the B.B. be maintained.  Even so, publication dates slipped very badly.

An attempt was made to stimulate ideas by running an appeal, complete with cash prize.  This met with no real response from the club.  There are, of course, ways of filling up the B.B., but it should not be necessary to use them in a healthy club.  After all, our members cave; climb; dig; explore; take part in rescues; hold social functions; read books; attend lectures and meetings; have interesting holidays; do other outdoor pursuits and even pull each others' leg on occasion.  How much of this finds its way into the B.B.?

The work of editing; typing and printing takes an average of 20 hours per month - or six full working weeks per year.

The stalwarts who collate, fold, staple, address and post the B.B. put in another large slice of voluntary time.  Against all this, the average member, by doing perhaps an hour or two's writing per year, could fill the B.B. to overflowing.  It doesn't really seem too much to ask!

Looking at the B.B. over the last two complete years shows that the number of contributors is going down while the amount they write is going up.  At this rate, we shall finish up with fewer and fewer people writing until the B.B. is written by two or three people.  1975 marks the 40th birthday of the B.E.C. and it would be appropriate to mark this by each member trying to produce something, however small, for next year's B.B.

Meanwhile, our thanks should go to those authors who have kept the B.B. going this year, and also to the postal department, who work so hard in the background to make sure that you get your B.B.

S.J. Collins.
Editor, B.B.


We have just received this letter from JOHN KNOPS, which shows that a sense of humour still lurks here and there in the club!

Dear Alfie,

The lack of response to your appeal for articles for the B.B. was only to be expected.  Everybody knows that the B.E.C. is, with few exceptions, composed of quiet, unassuming types who are convinced that nobody is interested in reading about their unremarkable exploits.  At the same time however, they are extremely interested in the doings of others.

I suggest therefore that what is required is some form by which we can boost each others I ego and self confidence.  Then, when others say "B.E.C.: - that egotistical, self-centred lot!" I'm sure the B.B. will be brimful every month - but I wonder if I I’d enjoy it half as much!

John Knops.


Minutes of the 1973 Annual General Meeting of the BEC

The meeting opened at 10.35 a.m. with 32 members present.  The Secretary opened the proceedings by calling for nominations for a chairman.  R.A. Setterington ('Sett') was proposed by Roy Bennett and seconded by Alfie.  There were no other nominations and 'Sett' was therefore elected Chairman.

Apologies for absence were received from D. Hasell; B. Prewer and R.S. King.

The Chairman then called for the collection of ballot papers and members resolutions.  He then asked for volunteers to act as tellers for the ballot.  Geoff Standing, Frank Jones and Keith Glossop volunteered.

Alfie asked, on a point of order, whether we should keep a list of those who voted, so that members could check that their votes had been recorded.  He pointed out that the new ballot system would allow this to happen without infringing the secrecy of the ballot, provided that the name slips were retained after the voting papers were destroyed.  The Chairman put this at once to the vote, and the meeting adopted this procedure without dissent.

The Chairman turned next to the minutes of the 1972 A.G.M. and asked if the meeting wished them to be taken as read.  It was proposed by Roy Bennett that they should be read in full.  This was seconded by Mike Palmer.  The Chairman called for a vote, and the motion was defeated by a large majority – no actual count being made.

The Chairman then asked Alfie, as Chairman of the retiring committee, to read out all the actions placed on that committee by the last A.G. M.  This was done, and it was agreed that, except for the question of access to the Belfry site, all the actions had been properly discharged.  On the latter subject, Dave Irwin spoke.  He said that Alan had, in fact, seen an independent solicitor in accordance with the action placed on the committee by the last A.G.M. This solicitor had referred him back to the club's normal solicitors Dave said that he had then contacted 'Digger's' partner, Martin Cavander.  Owing to illness, Dave explained, Digger was now entirely ecclesiastical.  On the subject of payment Dave said that he had been assured that the existing arrangements whereby we obtained free legal service were still satisfactory to our solicitors, but if we insisted on payment, they would be prepared to quote us favourable terms.

On the subject of rights of way, it appears that the Dors family have the right to erect a gate at the entrance to the track, but must supply keys to the owners of the Belfry (i.e, the trustees.)  We have a right of way written into our deeds.  On the subject of the Foxwell track, it appeared to depend on the exact wording of the agreement.  If we gave an alternative right of way to the road we might well be on uncertain ground. If we only gave it over our land the situation became clear.

Alan Thomas said that the change was stated on the agreement as being 'as per attached plan' which, in fact, shows a join to the track.  Dave Irwin replied that, even so, it was not expressly stated that we were giving the alternative right up to the track, but only implied on the plan.  In any case, our ignorance of the exact ownership of the wall which separated our land from the track at the point of entry did not invalidate the agreement as far as we were concerned.  It was up to Mr. Foxwell's solicitor to have checked this point. It appeared that Mr. Foxwell could request us to change the terms of the agreement, but could not demand that we did so. In any case, Ben had shifted the track some two feet and the argument is to a large extent academic.

The Chairman asked whether the entire subject was not now academic, since there seemed now to be no action threatened.  Alan agreed that this appeared to be the case.  The Chairman advised that, in the circumstances, the subject was best left alone. Alan replied that the committee had come to the same conclusion and were, in fact, doing just that.  He said that it appeared that Ben and Walt had now settled their differences.  The Chairman said that the subject was now closed and that any further developments should be dealt with by the incoming committee.

The Hon. Secretary's Report came next, and the Chairman asked Alan if he had anything to add to his report.  Alan said that he had nothing, but would, of course, answer any questions which might arise.

Dave Irwin said that there was no mention of the political implications of C.S.C.C. and N.C.A. etc. The Chairman said that, since there was a member's resolution involving this question, it should be brought up at that stage of the meeting.  Bob Bagshaw then proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Dave Irwin and carried unanimously.

The Hon. Treasurer's report then followed.  There was a correction to the financial statement.  The item under 'telephone' should read £44.84.  The Chairman then asked for any comments.  Alfie proposed that the report be adopted and this was seconded by Chris Harvey and carried unanimously.

The Hon. Auditor's Report followed.  Again, there were no comments, and its adoption was proposed by Doug Stuckey and seconded by Nigel.  It was carried nem. con.

The Caving Secretary's Report followed.  Alan Thomas proposed a vote of thanks to the Caving Secretary.  This was seconded by Chris Harvey and carried unanimously. Nigel Taylor then proposed that the report be adopted.  This was seconded by Colin Sage and carried without dissent.

In the absence of the Climbing Secretary, his report was read by the Chairman.  There was no discussion.  Its adoption was proposed by Barry Wilton and seconded by Martin Bishop. It was carried without dissent.

The Hut Warden's Report also provided no discussion.  Its adoption was proposed by Fete Franklin and seconded by Bob Bagshaw.  It was again carried without dissent,

The Hut Engineer's Report was read by the Chairman, in the absence of that officer.  Once again, there was no discussion.  Adoption was proposed by Nigel Taylor and seconded by John Bacon and carried without dissent.

The Tacklemaster then read his report to the meeting.  The Chairman asked if the club was desperately in need of assistance in making tackle.  Mike Palmer replied that there was a need to make tackle, but that volunteers had come forward and it was now a question of organisation.  Mike said that the club had all the necessary raw materials and said that Derek Targett and Chris Harvey had volunteered to hold some sessions on tackle making.  A vote of thanks to Mike Palmer and to Dave Turner was proposed for the efforts they had both made in getting the club tackle situation sorted out.  This was carried unanimously by the meeting.  Mike replied to this, and said that the biggest problem had been sorting it out.  He said that many people had helped.  The Chairman asked if digging ropes were, in fact, old caving ropes. Mike said that they were.  The adoption of the report was then proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Pete Franklin.  It was carried without dissent.

The B.B. Editor's Report came next.  There was no discussion.  Its adoption was proposed by Martin Bishop seconded by Joan Bennett and carried without dissent.

The meeting then moved on to the Librarian's Report.  Dave Irwin said that some books have been out for over a year and appealed once again for members to return books and publications.  It was agreed to put an appeal in the B.B.  He said that, apart from this aspect, we have not actually lost anything this year.  The adoption of the report was then proposed by Tony Meaden and seconded by Nigel Taylor. It was again, carried without dissent.

The publications Report then followed.  Dave Irwin asked whether the meeting felt that the report on shoring of swallet cave entrances should be re-published.  It would, he said, need bringing up to date before this could be done. The meeting appeared to have no strong feelings on the matter and the chairman suggested that Dave take this into account.  Alfie said that he would be prepared if required to revise the manuscript.  Alan Thomas then proposed the adoption of the report.  This was seconded by Dave Turner and carried nem. con.  A vote of thanks to Dave, Irwin was then proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Dave Turner and again carried without dissent.

The chairman then announced the result of the ballot.

The votes of 82 members had been recorded.  The nine candidates who would for, the 1973/4 committee were, in order of votes cast, Alfie; Dave Irwin; Nigel Taylor; Nigel Jago; Barry Wilton; Alan Thomas; Martin Bishop; Doug Stuckey and Graham Wilton-Jones.  The chairman then asked for permission to destroy the ballot papers. Mike Palmer put this in the form of a proposal, which was seconded by Dave Turner and carried unanimously.  The papers were immediately consigned to the Belfry stove.  The chairman then handed the name slips to Alfie with the advice that voters could appear in the annual list of members with some distinguishing mark against their names.

The chairman then counted those present.  There were 45 members present at 11.50 a.m.

The chairman then took the report of the Ian Dear Memorial Committee.  Mike Palmer read this to the meeting.  There had been one applicant during the year, and this had caused some surprise, as more had been expected.  In the ensuing short discussion, it was agreed that publicity had been adequate.  The adoption of the report was proposed by Roger Stenner and seconded by Dave Irwin. It was carried without dissent.

The chairman then turned to committee resolutions.  The first of these was "that the word 'ratified' be inserted in Article 5 of the club constitution so that it will then read, "both of whom shall be ratified members of the club."  Alfie reminded the meeting that Alan Thomas had proposed at the 1972 A.G.M. "That nobody shall be able to propose or second a membership application until his own membership has been ratified."  This had been ruled, by the chairman of the 1972 A.G.M., to be a constitutional change, since it added a condition to Article 5.  The chairman then proposed from the chair that the subject be referred to the 1972/3 committee in accordance with Article 53. This was agreed by the 1972 A.G.M. with 3 votes against.  Since then, the committee have put forward the resolution now in front of the meeting, and also published it in the B.B. in accordance with Article 53.  If the meeting now adopts the resolution now before it, it will become an amendment to the constitution.  The chairman thanked Alfie for this reminder and put the resolution up for discussion.  Roger Stenner declared himself against the proposed change.  He pointed out that applicants for membership were not normally admitted unless sufficiently known in the club, and that the proposer and seconder were not consulted as a rule unless they happened to be at a committee meeting, in which case it was unlikely that they were probationary members. Nigel Taylor also expressed himself against the idea and said that it would place an unnecessary brake on new membership.  Dave Irwin said that it would provide a safeguard against the formation of cliques. Under the present arrangements, two freshly elected members who also belonged to a small club could propose and second other members of that club who might otherwise be unknown and thus build up a clique which might never integrate with the general membership. Nigel Taylor said that the club committee should act as a watchdog to prevent this or any other bad situation from developing and should not have to depend on detailed legislation to make it occur.  He wished it to be placed on record that he was very strongly again this resolution. Dave Turner then proposed the adoption of the resolution.  This was seconded by Chris Rowell and carried by 25 votes in favour to 12 against.  The chairman then announced that the constitution had been amended for the first time, and that Article 5 should be officially amended in accordance with the resolution.

The second Committee resolution "that the existing Belfry sub-committee continue in office until their findings are completed" was spoken to by Alan Thomas, who said that owing to various circumstances, the sub-committee had not been able to complete its work during the club year just ended.  He felt that continuity here was of importance, and the election of a new sub-committee might well reduce this factor.  Dave Irwin replied that, on reflection, it might be dangerous to perpetuate a sub-committee in this way.  Roy Bennett pointed out that we were allowed two types of committee in addition to the general committee.  We had chosen a sub-committee as from a special committee, and must therefore accept the fact that such a committee becomes automatically disbanded at the end of the club year.  The chairman pointed out that if there was a continuing need for this sub-committee, there was no reason why the new committee could not resurrect it en bloc. Dave Turner agreed that this was the sensible course for the committee to adopt, since they already had the power to do so.  Thus, the resolution had no real meaning. Dave Irwin disagreed with this, and pointed out that the resolution, if passed would compel the committee to do what otherwise they would be free to exercise choice over.  Chris Howell suggested that this aspect could be got round if the word 'existing' were removed from the resolution.  After some further discussion along these lines, Dave Turner pointed out that the resolution was out of order.  It was, in fact, a change to the constitution and, as such, could not take effect immediately.  In spite of this, the resolution said that the sub-committee should continue in office.  Since a finite time must elapse before the resolution could take effect by change of constitution, it was clearly impossible for the sub-committee to continue in the meantime.  Hence the resolution was proposing an impossibility and was thus out of order. The chairman asked if the meeting had under-stood this line of reasoning, and if it agreed with it.  The meeting unanimously agreed the point and the matter was accordingly dropped.

Turning now to members resolutions, a resolution, "that the B.E.C. join the Council of Northern Caving Clubs and do more caving in the North" was proposed by Andy Nicholls and seconded by Nigel Taylor.  Both Alfie and Dave Irwin said that the Southern Council would be debating this point at their meeting in November and it might be prudent to wait and see what happened there first.  At this point, the refreshments arrived, and the chairman declared the meeting adjourned.

After the refreshments, the meeting was re-convened and the discussion continued.  Mike Palmer asked what the back-ground was behind this resolution.  Alan explained that the CNCC had placed an embargo on members of clubs not belonging to CNCC visiting caves controlled by CNCC.  This meant that BEC members could not officially visit these caves unless BEC joined CNCC or its members were prepared to go as guests of a member club of CNCC like the Bradford.  Nigel Taylor said there was no point in waiting for the Southern Council meeting, since he understood that the NCA had said that it could not control decisions of CNCC.  Dave Irwin said that this was not completely true.  CSCC were still trying to bring pressure to bear, via NCA on CNCC.  Our proper course of action was to help bring this pressure to bear, rather than to give in automatically to the decision of CNCC. Roy Bennett said that, in that case, we should instruct our representatives as to what the club expected them to do at the next meeting of CSCC.  Dave Irwin said that, even if things went temporarily against us, joining CNCC would be one more move in the direction of centralised caving, which, in the long run, could mean the end of clubs like B.E.C.  Roger Stenner agreed that this was an important point which the club must consider most carefully.  On the other hand, the restriction of caving was an equally important subject to what is mainly a caving club.  The chairman then called for a vote on the proposal and declared the resolution lost with 2 votes in favour and 30 against.

Roger Stenner then proposed a resolution, "that the defeat of the proposal does not bind the committee NOT to join CNCC should further developments make it desirable to do so".  This was seconded by Roy Bennett.  The Chairman said that the previous proposal, if carried by the meeting, would have compelled to committee to join CNCC.  The fact that it had been defeated meant that the committee were not now so compelled and were now at liberty to do so if they wished.  Thus, there was no need for the new proposal.  The only new proposal which would alter the status quo would be one which forbade the committee to join CNCC.  As no such proposal was forthcoming, the chairman moved on to the next business.  This was a resolution by Roy Bennett and Dave Turner "that the 1973/4 committee should take note of the remarks and suggestions concerning payment etc. for access to Northern caves and incorporate these views into its policy as put forward to the Council of southern Caving Clubs."  There was no discussion, and the resolution was carried 24 - 0.

Under 'Any Other Business', Dave Turner raised the question of payment for legal advice, which had been mentioned earlier.  He asked if we would get better conditions if we paid.  Dave Irwin said that it would make no difference.  Chris Howell wondered whether payment would get us priority, but Dave said that we had not suffered to date.  Alan Thomas said that the independent solicitor had cost a guinea. Nigel Taylor said that he was in favour of leaving things as they were.  Joan Bennett suggested that we should be prepared to pay, but that the bills, in the event, might never be sent to us.  Bob Bagshaw was in favour of the present state of affairs and the discussion ended without any resolution being put to the meeting.

A special speech of thanks was then delivered to mark the occasion of Bob Bagshaw's retirement from office.  Barry Wilton, as the Treasurer-presumptive, reminded the meeting of Bob's long service to the club.

The chairman then asked if there was any other business.  Mike Palmer raised the question of fire risk to the Belfry.  He asked, for example, whether the gas cylinders should be sited outside.  After a short discussion, it was proposed by Frank Jones and seconded by Mike Palmer that the committee take advice from the Fire Service and act at their discretion. This was carried by the meeting without dissent.

There being no other business, the chairman declared the meeting closed at 2.45.p.m.


Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany, by Wig

91.           Hollowfield. The missing sketch plan is shown below: -


106.      Social Chit-Chat:  Garth Dell, Keith Gladman and Keith Murray have been seen around the Belfry recently.  So too, was Jock on a quick visit from Reading.  The one memory of Jock's visit was that the Belfry was considerably cleaner when he left than when he arrived.  Getting quite excited about it, he nearly managed to wash all the Belfryites as well!

Sons are the addition to the Franklin Brothers Families, and Phil and Yo Kingston are on their way to New Zealand during the autumn.  Phil tells me apart from the volcanoes, there are plenty of caving to be had, and only a few miles from their home.  Pete and Mary Ham have made the break and are now in Australia!

107.      Library: The additions to the library have included P.C.G. an A.C.G. Newsletters and a collection of books, C.D.G. miscellaneous papers, maps etc. in a donation from Phil Kingston.  Included in this gift is a timetable for the largest caving event ever organised by the club on Mendip - the Cuthbert’s Sump Digging Weekend in February 1967, when over 30 cavers and divers worked around the clock digging at the sides of the sump to clear a way in for the divers to dig in the sump itself.  The project was called off late on the Saturday night due to flooding.  Other items include surveys of Lamb Leer, stoke Lane, O.S. Maps and a second edition of the 'Caves of Mendip'.

108.      Golden Oldies: Well down in Swildons!  On Tuesday 23rd July, an historic gathering descended Swildons under the leadership - though this is doubtful - of Roy Bennett. Doubtful, because it is thought that all the tackle was carried down by John Stafford's son who, it appears, was always in the lead.  Neither did he worry about the pools - including the Double Pots - he jumped straight in without - one might add to Roy's amazement - a wet suit.  Anyway, John Stafford, John Attwood and daughters ended up at Sump I. The sump being beautifully clear, it was dived by RB in an attempt to show off the desirability of the wet suit. Back at the Hunters, the Oldies Clan gathered strength by the addition of Alan Bonner, Keith Gladman and Pat Ifold.

109.      G.B.  This cave is again locked, as is Longwood and Rhino Rift.  Keys for all three caves are kept in the library at the Belfry.  Members wishing to visit these caves arriving mid-week should make arrangements with Dave Irwin or Nigel Taylor well in advance.

110.      At the Belfry: The committee have taken several momentous decisions.  The fire is to be re-sited in the main room and when the damper has been manufactured. Bucket Tilbury will come down to install the fireplace and chimney.  The long-discussed lockers have been costed and Barry Wilton has the job of arranging the construction.  The library is due for a face-lift and extra shelving is to be installed.


Club Officer’s Reports 1974 - Publications Report

By the A.G.M., at least 3 reports will have been published for the current year. Numbers 14, 17 & 18

No 14. Pyrenean Report - has had an endless series of troubles since its MS came into the hands of the editor and though it has been published in the recent past, I would like to record our apologies to Roy Bennett for the late publication.   The trouble lay

with the commercial printers, who dragged their heels, and with a member of the club, who failed to deliver the necessary plates and printed surveys.  100 copies are available.

No 17. Burrington Atlas. This booklet has been the most successful publications produced by the club. Approximately 400 copies have been sold, and a second printing is being considered.

Number 18.  Caving Reports:  The first of a number of multi-subject reports.  Contains surveys and papers on various subjects written by members of the club.

No new parts of the Cuthbert’s Survey have appeared during the year, but the survey is now at a very advanced stage and the publication of the remaining sheets should trickle through during the next club year.

The post is now one of the most important in the club, though not a committee post as such.  Its expenditure is almost if not equal to the Belfry accounts.  As such, it has shown that sales have reached very high levels and the demand does not seem to be abating.  The outlet of papers written by members, of the various discoveries and technical notes, to a wide audience can only improve the image of the club.  To this end, Alfie Collins and myself have devised a system where papers of an original nature will be diverted to the caving reports and thus help to remove the stigma whereby others have referred to the journals of other clubs as being the original source, when the B.B. has carried the information first.  In the same way, material not really suited to the caving reports will be diverted to the B.B.  Papers published in the Caving Reports will be accompanied by a précis especially prepared for the B.B.

D. Irwin.
Editor, Publications.
July, 1974.


Monthly Crossword – Number 49.



















































































4. Stoke has a muddy one of these. (2-3)
5. Swildons has several of these at first. (3)
7. Stal may have done this to a passage and diggers may be this by it! (7)
9. In the first case of 7, the stal does this. (7)
11. And the rest. (3)
12. A boring device for surface exploration. (5)


1. Local River. (3)
2. Lure bod to this cave feature. (7)
3. A hundred affirm for this bloke. (5)
6. A hundred are visiting many places (including this Mendip cave?) (7)
8. Caving get-together? (5)
10. One of the 5 across’s. (3)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword



















































































Club Committee

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

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

Members           M. Bishop, D.J. Irwin, B. Wilton, G. Oaten, N. Taylor, A.R. Thomas, A. Nicholls.

Officers of the Club

Honorary Secretary        A.R THOMAS, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269

Honorary Treasurer         B. WILTON, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol.

Caving Secretary            A. NICHOLLS, Address to follow.

Climbing Secretary         G. OATEN, Address to follow.

Hut Warden                   N. TAYLOR, Whiddons, Chilcote, Somerset.  Tele : WELLS 72338

Belfry Engineer              M. BISHOP, Bishop’s Cottage, The Batch, Priddy, Wells, Som.  Tele : PRIDDY 370

Tacklemaster                 G. WILTON-JONES, 17 Monkham’s Drive, Watton, Thetford, Norfolk

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

Honorary Librarian          D.J IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells Som.  Tel : PRIDDY 369

Publications Editor         D.J IRWIN  As above

B.B. Postal                   Brenda. WILTON  Address as above



New Brooms

Inspection of the new list of club officers will reveal that quite a high proportion of jobs are now in new hands.  The list starts with our new Hon.  Secretary - Dave Irwin who now holds what many people regard as the most important office in the club.  Next, we have both a new Hut Warden in Colin Dooley and a new Belfry Engineer in John Dukes. Taken together, these positions affect the club to no small extent.  Finally, by a unanimous vote of the new committee, Chris Howell was co-opted as Publications Editor.  Although this job is not one of those named in the constitution as being jobs which must be done by members of the committee, it was felt that since the Publications Editor turns over almost as much money as does the Belfry, this was a position which should be in the committee.

I am sure that we all wish our new officers and perhaps the old ones as well - every success in their difficult tasks, and look forward to some really encouraging report at the end of this club year

Membership Secretary

One of the decisions already taken by the new committee is to concentrate all matters of membership in the hands of a membership secretary.  Talent scouts are already out looking for a suitable person, so if any reader feels that he or she could cope with the job of keeping complete tabs on members, please get in touch with the Hon, Sec. or any member of the committee.


It is hoped to include of the dinner elsewhere an account in this B.B.  In the meantime, is worth noting that it must surely rank amongst the most successful that the club have ever held.  Your editor has attended every one of the twenty five dinners the club has so far held, and has a job to remember a better one than the latest. Plenty of good food; good service; drinks at sensible prices and, going by the comments made to him afterwards, an entertainment which was well received.  If we can keep up this new high standard, we might well see many faces coming back who have been recently increasing the number of 'absent friends'

Forty Years On!

This year sees the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Wessex Cave Club, to whom we should like to offer our sincere congratulations on this event and our best wishes for the future.  When one considers the number of new clubs which are currently being formed every year, one wonders how many of these will survive to the respectable age now attained by the Wessex.

On a lighter note, the current issue of the Wessex Journal lists the B.E.C. amongst the natural catastrophes already surmounted by the Wessex.  We hope that this offering will be accepted in the friendly spirit in which it was written even though it is not, perhaps, quite what they might have had in mind for a celebratory song.  It goes to the tune of 'Forty Years On!' which any Wessex member who has been to Harrow should have no difficulty in remembering.

Forty years on! since that terrible blunder
Which older members still dimly recall:
When we look back, we regretfully wonder
Why did we bother to found it at all?
Were we too hasty, too rash or ill-fated
Founding the Wessex; when otherwise we
Might well have sat back and patiently waited
Till we could all join the B.E.C.

Roll up, roll up, roll up, roll up, roll up
For it's never too late to begin
To, fill an application form in
Roll up!



Climbers may use the S.W.M.C. hut by arrangement with club.  Any climber who wishes to do so should contact climbing Secretary, Gerry Oaten, for details.

There will be a meeting in Mid-December at the Belfry for any members who are interested in going abroad next year.  Further details in next month's B.B.  The idea is to see who is planning what and whether a definite club expedition will be possible.

Members are reminded not to lend Belfry keys out to strangers.  Doing so can lead to loss of club tackle.

Anyone prepared to lead caving trips anywhere should get in touch with Andy or Tim so that a full programme can be arranged.


Tatham Wife Hole

An account of this cave by Derek Sanderson and Roger Wing

Length: 2100'+ Depth: 509' N.G.R. 733 746 ( Sheet 90 )

After parking the car at God's Bridge Rising in Chapel le Dale, Derek Sanderson and myself packed our rucksacks with caving gear and set off up the footpath by Bold Haw (not shown on the one inch map).  The cave was found after about an hour and a quarter's walk over the lower slopes of Ingleborough.  It is in a shakehole with a small stream running out of the banks into the cave entrance.

The entrance to the cave slopes steeply, with a pebble and boulder scree floor which slips underfoot. After a short climb down, the development becomes quite high and roomy and leads into sharp meanders in clean, lightly coloured rock.  These meanders follow on until the stream falls over a 30' pot (30' ladder, short belay to bolt).  The stream, although small (on this occasion) falls straight on to the ladder but the pitch, in a fluted alcove, is a superb one, the water adding to the pleasure. This pitch is quickly followed by another of 40' (40' ladder, 5' belay to small column at eye level on right). The pitch is again wet and consists of a smooth descent of 28' to a wide ledge from which a further 10' drop leads to the floor of the shaft.

From here, the passage is initially roomy, but soon a sharp joint-controlled left turn leads to a crawl on a very smooth, clean rock floor with the stream flowing over black pebbles to one side.  After a short section of larger passage, one enters a further section of crawling but this time the atmosphere of the passage is different, the floor being pebbly and uncomfortable, winding through rough, close walls which catch one's clothes as one passes.  After about a hundred feet of this, progress is halted at the head of the third pitch.

The third pitch is also a wet 30' (30' ladder, short belay to bolt) and leads to a chamber with a narrow rift to the left.  This is the head of the 30' ramp - a superb piece of cave consisting of a smooth slide down a near vertical cleft about two feet wide.  The stream also flows over this ramp.

Most of the cave from this point on is fault-controlled and from the base of the ramp the passage is quieter.  After a short distance of narrow rift passage with evidence of a thick calcite vein along the fault line, one soon reaches the Duck, a low section which is tight rather than wet.  Immediately after the Duck, the rift becomes too narrow to follow at stream level, and it becomes necessary to traverse above the stream for about thirty feet until it becomes possible to climb down into a wider part of the passage where the roof rises to a height of about fifty feet.  On the right of this handsome passage is an alcove, behind which is an inviting side passage which soon closes down among boulders after some distance of deep calf wading.

Back in the main stream passage and about 300' past the side passage, is the final 25' pot (25' ladder, short belay) which is probably the wettest pitch of all - the ladder hanging in the full force of the stream.  The surface of this pot is also more broken than the others, making it more difficult to climb the ladder.

From the deep pool at the base of the pitch, the passage continues as a wide, towering rift with some shallow canal sections, until the roof lowers to form a crawl in slow-moving clear, cold water with ducks under formations.  From here, the water gradually becomes deeper and the walls become darker and close in.  Little alcoves cause the water to make those eerie glooping noises, and in this fashion the passage peters out into the sump at the remarkable depth of just over 500' below the surface.  The sump has been successfully dived, as described in the S.M.C.C. Journal (Vol. 5, No.5, 1973)

Although not as severe as sane longer Yorkshire pots, the cave is still strenuous and should not be treated lightly.  Our tackle consisted of 6 - 25' ladders, a life line, a 50' handline for the Ramp, which meant that the trip was just possible for two people.  We surfaced after almost four hours, feeling very satisfied.  Under high water conditions the Duck and the Ramp probably become impassable, and lifelines would be essential on all the pitches.


The following day, we met up with Keith Sanderson and Bob Harper (both Wessex) and abseiled through Simpson's Pot.  This trip has been reported before in the B.B., but some additional points might be worth making.

1.                  The rawlbolt on one of the pitches (31' Carol Pot, I think) has come out, so a flake of rock has to serve as a belay point.  Care has to be taken not to jam the abseil rope.

2.                  There is no bolt on the 25' Aven Pot either and one has to use a rock flake again, and the same precaution applies.

3.                  No bolt on 13' Lake Pot, and we didn't find a suitable belay point from which we could retrieve the rope, so we chimney down the top half of the pitch and then jumped!

4.                  The top of the 80' Slit Pot is as awkward as ever!

(A plan of Tatham Wife Hole will be found below. - Ed.)



Financial Statement for the Year to the thirty first of July 1974




Club Ties & Car Badges





C.C.C. Permits etc.




Less Expenditure



Less Charges


Less Expenditure




£ 535.67

£ 245.15


£   58.74

£   54.21

£     7.67

£     1.44



£ 380.15


£ 290.52

£     5.00


£    4.35


£    6.23

£  10.53

£    9.75




£ 706.31


Postages And Stationery



Stationery & Printing

B.B. Postage


Less sales


£  311.71

£    62.94

£  374.65

£  134.92

£  15.83

Annual Dinner


Less cost

£  218.75

£  232.54


£   13.79




£   14.06

Car Badges



Less Sales

£   14.48

£   11.00


£   14.06

Carbide and Spares


Less Sales

£   43.25

£     7.14


£   36.11

Public Liability Insurance.

Income Tax

Cambrian C.C.

Council Northern C.C.

Council Southern C. C.

British Cave Research Assoc

A.G.M. refreshments

Ian Dear memorial Fund grants









£   47.30

£     7.50

£     3.00

£     2.00

£     0.50

£     3.00

£    11.00

£    90.00


Surplus For The Year



£  483.82

£  222.89




£  706.71


General Accumulated

Add Surplus For The Year

FUNDS @  31.7.73



£ 485.25

£ 222.89

General Accumulated

I.D.M.F. to Building Society


Interest on April 1st 1974

FUNDS @  31.7.74




£ 708.14


£ 348.04

£     8.12




£ 356.16


Lloyds Bank Ltd Current Account

Cash in hand




£ 578.37

£ 129.77




£ 708.14

Club Officer’s Report – 1974 Notes to Financial Statement
(Hon. Treasurer’s Report.)

1.         Firstly, I must state that the accounts are made up and detailed as in previous years.  My intention was to gain experience in operating the club accounts before I carried out the Hon. Auditor's suggestion of giving a more detailed statement.

2.         Late this year, the Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee approved three applications for grants to members travelling abroad.  As the I.D.M. Fund is held in a building society in London, and the grants were required at short notice, it was necessary to draw them on general club funds.  The grants therefore, are shown in the statement as a debit, although next years account will show this money as a repayment to the club's general monies, from the I.D.M. Fund.

3.         During the current year we were strongly advised by our insurance brokers that our public liability insurance cover of £50,000 was inadequate.  On this advice, our cover was increased to £100,000.  This is, of course, resulting in a higher premium for year.  There is a possibility that the cover may to be increased again during the coming year.

4.         This year's carbide and lamp spares etc. account is shown as making a loss.  This was due to late purchase of lamp spares totalling £23.25 the sales from which will be credited in next years' account.

5.         The Belfry Insurance cover of £5,000 has been increased to a more realistic figure of £12,000.

6.         The apparent deficit in the publication stationery & printing account of £311.71 is not as bad as it seems because a large outstanding bill of £171.14 from the previous year was paid during the current year, making this years account more realistic.

Barrie Wilton, Hon. Treasurer.


Club Officer’s Report – 1974 - Tacklemasters Report

The tackle situation is at present as follows: -


100' of lightweight ladder

150' of standard ladder

290' of rope.


225' of lightweight ladder

355' of rope.

Some 700' of rope is about to be brought into service and this includes 500' of new polypropylene; 150' of lightweight ladder and 165' of standard ladder is under repair and should be in service again in September.  A further 500' of nylon rope is to be purchased by Christmas and about 100' of ladder is to be manufactured along with several tethers.


It should be remembered that the Tacklemaster's job is not simply to maintain existing tackle, but also to make or buy new equipment in order to increase our stock to cope with the demand made by more cavers going further a field in more difficult and complex systems.  However, time and the apparently excessive wear on tackle have so far combined to preclude the manufacture of new equipment.

A great deal more care must be taken with all tackle, both above and below ground.  Ropes should not be trodden on.  Ladders should be lowered, not dropped.  If ladders snag - especially when being carried in narrow passages - they should be removed carefully and not pulled off.  Much damage is done to eyes at ladder ends; wires, and even rungs and the only possible cause is the dropping of heavy objects, such as rocks, on top of tackle.  All our tethers are badly kinked, because insufficient care has been taken in selecting belays.

Back on the surface, ladders and ropes are not always washed thoroughly.  It is important to remove mud from ladders, as it retains moisture and promotes corrosion.  Ropes should be very thoroughly washed to remove grit one quick dip in the pool is not good enough.

The amount of ladder under repair, and the number of ropes that have been written off this year, are disturbing.  Please take note of all that has been said above.

Some tackle has been lost, and this should never happen without its being accounted for. However, tackle has been borrowed by non-club members and not returned.  In one instance, members of a Yeovil club were lent a Belfry key, and they subsequently borrowed a large amount of Belfry tackle.  One of the ladders borrowed was not returned, and this was not missed until one of the Priddy villagers found it on the Upper Green.

Some tackle is borrowed without its being signed out and some is not always signed back.  Tackle is all too frequently left lying about the Belfry or in the drinking pool.  Little wonder that tackle gets lost!


Where tackle is left at the top of a pitch, or possibly used by other parties as well, the standard weight ladder should be used, as wear is less apparent.  Swildons 20 is a case in point.

So much for wear and tear on, and loss of, tackle.  In spite of what has been said, the situation is not as bad as it appears, as very little money has been spent on the tackle recently.  The attempt to save money by having tellurite pressed on by friends in the trade has failed, as four to five months waiting have shown.  Although the present 315 feet of ladder, together with some new ladder all requiring tellurite will still be finished locally, in future, pressing for ladders and tethers will either be done professionally (and we shall have to pay some £1.50 for this per ladder) or we shall use our own tellurite press, which we acquired recently and which is at present undergoing repair.

Some of the digging tackle has been seriously misused this year, with instances of digging ropes being used as lifelines.  Digging ropes are identified by black markings on their ends, in addition to the blue B.E.C. identification marks.  PLEASE NOTE THIS and do not use any rope so marked as a lifeline. Digging tackle should be signed out in the usual way where possible.  There is no abundance of digging tackle, so look after it - especially on site.  If it is to be left on a digging site over a period of time, let the Tacklemaster know. This applies also to ordinary tackle left underground, as happens frequently on exploratory trips.

Many people seem to be unaware of the existence of the reserve tackle store.  The equipment in this store is especially for trips to other areas, and includes all the ultra lightweight ladder.  It has been used only five times this year.  The Tacklemaster MUST know if any equipment is required for expeditions, in order to ensure that 100' of ladder and appropriate lifelines are left available for general use on Mendip.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the nameless few (how I wish I could say 'hordes'!) who have helped and offered to help with tackle manufacture and maintenance, or have proffered advice, or even donated tackle.

Graham Wilton-Jones.


Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany

By 'Wig'

128.   News from the North:  Since the rescue from Birks Fell early in the year, relations between the farmer and landowner and cavers seem to be deteriorating.  Cavers were prevented from entering the cave until May 1974. The position is being reviewed again at the end of October.  A rumour is circulating that access is difficult to both Strans Gill and Pasture Gill.  Confirmation is still awaited.

Difficulty is being experienced at Monge Gill as the cave is not properly gated.  Bookings for Gingling Hole should be made as soon as possible for 1975 as the cave has been closed due to a misunderstanding with the owner.  Members visiting any of the pots on Penyghent should ensure that they call on the game keeper, George Perfect at Brackenbottom before they descend.  Magnetometer Pot is unsafe due to corroded oil drums lining the shaft.

Access to Pippikin is not restricted to any part of the year (as is other parts of the dales for grouse shooting). This is conditional on cavers approaching the cave from Bullpot Farm and not from the Leek Fell road during the grouse breeding season.  From Bullpot Farm, proceed via County Pot or Scales Ram keeping to the paths to avoid damage to the grass and moor land grips.

Cherry Tree Hole is still closed. Pikedaw Mine will be re-opened as soon as the lid is completed and there will be unrestricted access.

Special Weather forecasts. C .N.C.C. have arranged to display weather forecast notices outside the Youth Hostel in Kettlewell. Finally, work on a new edition of the Northern cave handbook is well under way.

129.   News from Wales:  Like the C.N.C.C., the Cambrian C.C. is producing a new publication.  The 'Red Dragon' is a journal - the first I believe to be published by a regional body.  Price 30p, it has 64 pages of A4.  Packing and postage is 10.5p.  Available from Frank Baguley, 15 Elm Grove, Gadlys, Aberdare, Glam. CF44 8DN.  Access to Agen Allwedd is now conditionally open again following the inquest on the death of Roger Solari on July 1974.

130.   Social: Congratulations to Doug Stuckey. Word has filtered through the grapevine that Doug is now the father of a bouncing baby boy.  Has anyone heard any thing of Sybil?  The last we heard is that she was in Uganda and political events in that country may have made life difficult for her.  Perhaps someone could drop her a line to find out how she is?   Frank 'Dustbin' Darbon was at the dinner and generally around Mendip during early October.  He was on an extended holiday from CanadaKeith Murray and Frank Jones both managed to attend the dinner by the skin of their teeth due to the late sailing of their ships. Frank is off to Japan and Keith to Ghana. Nigel Taylor is being silenced and is entering the police force and I understand he is being posted to the St. Paul’s area of Bristol.  Graham Robinson tells us that Sago is in hospital again with a stomach ulcer this time. He certainly has had a run of bad luck and we hope he soon recovers.  On the same subject, Tony Corrigan's leg is still giving him trouble, and we hope that this too will soon clear up.

131.   St. Cuthbert’s Swallet - Report and Survey:  The now well-known and long overdue report on St. Cuthbert’s is so planned to be the most comprehensive report that has ever been produced for any cave in the country including Lancaster/Easegill and O.F.D.  The whole report is designed to be published in fifteen parts - to produce it in one volume would have proved prohibitive. Altogether it is at least 350 pages and some 30 surveys will be included together with a number of photographs (not necessarily of pretties, but interesting features of the cave).  The parts are as follows:-

Caving Report Number 13:

·        Part A Discovery & Exploration.  Published. Now out of print.

·        Part B Complete Survey.

·        Part C Description and detailed survey of Old and New Routes.

·        Part D Main Chambers.

·        Part E Rabbit Warren.  Published. Still in print.

·        Part F Gour Hall Area. Published.  Still in Print.

·        Part G Cerberus & Maypole Series.

·        Part H Rabbit Warren Extension.  Published. In print

·        Part I September Series.

·        Part J Long Chamber & Canyon Series.

·        Part K Rocky Boulder Series.

·        Part L Geological Notes.

·        Part M Hydrological Notes.

·        Part N Flora & Fauna.

·        Part O Miscellaneous information and Bibliography.  (Published - now out of print.)

Already, many members have booked the whole range of the report - and members who have not yet done so should contact the Publications Editor. When all the parts of the report are published, those who want the whole lot to be bound as a complete book can send them back to the club and have them bound in rexine.  Ten copies, being bound in leather and rexine, have already been sold.

132.   Corrections:  Two recent pieces of information must be corrected.  Terry Baker’s digging site near the Mells valley is NOT the site as mentioned in para 118.  This is being dug by Willie Stanton.  Baker’s dig is apparently further down the valley and much higher and is mainly archaeological.  More details later.  The second piece of information which needs t to be brought up to date refers to Cowsh Avens (111.)  The hoped-for breakthrough to the surface has NOT been agreed to by the Maine family, and there is little hope of it ever being opened in the near or longer term future.  The latest W.C.C. Journal has an entertaining article by Fred Davies on the Cowsh marathon.  Copies are in the club library.


Notes On Polypropylene

by the Tacklemaster.

Five hundred feet of staple-spun polypropylene rope of an inch and a half circumference, is to be added to the reserve tackle store.

This rope will be in three lengths.  Two ropes of a hundred and twenty five feet each and one of two hundred and fifty feet. The rope is intended for use as lifeline ONLY.  It is definitely NOT suitable for abseiling, and indeed, could be DANGEROUS if so used, as it has a rather low melting point compared with that of nylon.  It is not good as a climbing lifeline either - whether on the surface or underground - as it has only a 23% stretch at breaking point.

In addition to these disadvantages, it can easily twist itself into all manner of knots, if not handled with care - especially when being coiled.  It is coiled more easily by allowing the free end to hang over a pitch so that it can untwist.  Although I see many arguments over this choice of rope, I hope that members will soon discover for themselves certain advantages, not the least of which is the cost.

Editor's Note:     I bought thirty fathoms of a similar rope last year for use as an anchor rope.  It is proved very good in service except for this habit of tying itself into all manner of knots at the slightest provocation.  I solved the problem by winding it over two pegs, crossing the rope on every turn round the pegs.  This puts an opposite twist into every alternate turn of the rope, so twists never build up in one direction.  With very long ropes, such as those described by Graham, it might pay to have a simple and light weight frame built up, so that the rope can be coiled up on it in this fashion.  If you have a top bar which can go over the pegs after coiling, this will prevent the rope from coming off while carrying through a cave.


Personal Reflections on Climbing

Pete Sutton sends us this hard hitting contribution on the Climbing Section. Perhaps we shall get a suitable reply?

It seems that the Climbing Section - like the Liberals have taken a slight setback in recent times, although I think the picture is not as black as might have been portrayed,

Although a considerable portion of the Climbing Section has definitely stagnated, several of us have actually carried on the tradition of climbing.  This must be to the amazement of some others, who have taken to dancing on horizontal floors instead of up vertical walls.

One thing that has been sadly missed is the tradition of the Climbing Section going away together on Bank Holiday weekends.  Excepting Easter weekend, which was a combined caving, climbing and drinking weekend - not necessasarily in that order - the majority of the Climbing Section elected not to uphold old traditions of the B.E.C in having climbing weekends, but rather to following new 'old' traditions of a more uniformed nature, B.E.C. ties were left behind.  The group did manage a weeks summer holiday in Pembrokeshire and N. Wales, but the less said about that, the better.

Even so, the Climbing Section was represented in N. Wales at Whitsun and experienced excellent weather, good camping and fine climbing.  Ivy Sepulchre (190' H.V.S.) was climbed on the Cromlech in Llanberis Pass and several good V.S.'s done on Craig-y-Ulenalt, Snowdon South.  One in particular proved quite exciting with two hard pitches and exposed third pitch.

As Gerry mentioned in his climbing report, Thursday evening climbing again took place this year in the Avon Gorge. The terribly wet weather through the summer months - it always seemed to rain on Thursday evenings - had its bad effect on climbing, but even so it was disappointing previous regulars couldn't always find the time to come along.

Here, I feel that I must sound a note of warning.  The few remaining members who are active climbers cannot, and will not forever be loners.  Already, substantial moves have been made away from the club in an effort to broaden the sphere of activity.  A number of trips have been made recently with the Egons Climbing Club - a club incidentally which does not limit its climbing on Sundays to the Avon Gorge and which does not take the view that if you can't climb H.V.S. - then tough luck! Instead, it travels to places some people might have never been to, like Chudleigh Gower, Symond's Yat, Cefn Coed, Maelstrom Quarries etc, and caters for beginners; moderates or hard climbers. As individuals, they also make outsiders welcome and able to feel one of them almost immediately - a feature which has been sadly lacking amongst our own Climbing Section.

Still, we mustn't end on a note of gloom.  Three or four more active climbers are on the books, and it's up to us, both active climbers and stagnated ones (sorry about that!) to make them feel welcome and transform the B.E.C. Climbing Section once more into an active, lively and social group, within the general structure of the club as a whole.  I feel also that much greater liaison will occur between B.E.C. and other climbing groups which I am sure can only be beneficial to the participants.

Editor's Note:     Well, there you are, climbers! It seems that, to one of your number at least, all is not as well as it might be.  Ever since the B.B. was first produced in 1947, it has been enriched by tales of the exploits of club climbers - from the early episodes of the Menace (John Morris); 'Orrible Orren; Ron (Holler-in-the-night) Newman, and many other equally colourful people, not forgetting the ubiquitous 'Kangy' King. Perhaps one answer might be to encourage more 'all-rounders' like Kangy, and have more interaction between cavers and climbers.  Any further correspondence on this subject would be welcome, since one of the functions of the B.B. is to enable club members to air their views on subjects such as this.


Book Reviews

Historic Cornish Mining Scenes Underground - D.B. Barton (First Published 1967.)

'Mongst Mines and Miners - J.C. Burrow and L. Thomas (First published 1893, Reprinted 1965)

Although at first sight deep mining in Cornwall for copper and tin appears to have little in common with lead mining on Mendip, the above two publications give an interesting insight into what life must have been like underground for the eighteenth and nineteenth century miner.  Both books, or rather booklets, are full of first class photographs taken before the turn of the century both above and below ground in the Cornish mines and both contain lucid accounts of the mining techniques of the day.  Apart from the obvious variations due to the scale of mining in Cornwall when compared with that on Mendip, the techniques illustrated must compare closely with these used in the Mendip lead mines in their heyday.

Both books are published by D. Bradford Barton Ltd., of Truro at 65p and 75p respectively; and are to be thoroughly recommended to anyone with an interest in old mining.


Book reviews are always welcome, and the editor will be pleased to publish any more that come his way.

CHRISTMAS B.B.  It is the intention to publish a larger than usual edition of the B.B. once again this year.  So far, there is just about enough material in the pipeline for a normal sized B.B, and a decision on the final size of the Christmas B.B. will have to be taken soon.  Particularly wanted are one or two articles of good length (and: of course, good content) and any good humorous material suitable for the festive season.


Monthly Crossword – Number 51



















































































3. Short county forms cave feature. (4)
5. As tart – in layers underground. (6)
6. Stumble on caving? (4)
7. Large number of tall cave passages form mine passages. (6)
11. Progresses through 3 across. (6)
13. Type of cave deposit. (4)
14. If clay does this, it may well break into this beheaded. (6)
15. Survey height in disturbed pots. (4)


1. Employed. (4)
2. This sort of pipe can be found on Mendip. (4)
3. Cave dwellers. (4)
4. Cave phenomenon in earlier part of Priddy. (4)
8. Mendip cave hall. (3).
9. Caves without touching walls or floor…. (5)
10….through this? (4)
11. Found in any fossiliferous rock. (4)
12. Discoverers of a well know Mendip cave. (1,1,1,1)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword


















































































PRIZE CROSSWORD.  This was won by 'Sett'.


Club Committee

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

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

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

Officers of the Club

Honorary Secretary          D.J IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells Som.  Tel : PRIDDY 369

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

Climbing Secretary          G. OATEN, 32 St. Marks Road, Easton, Bristol. Tele : BRISTOL 551163

Tacklemaster                  G. WILTON-JONES, ‘Ilenea’, Stonefield Road. Nap Hill, High Wycombe, Bucks.

                                      Tele : HIGH WYCOMBE 3534

Hut Warden                     C. DOOLEY, 51 Ommaston Road., Harbourne, Birmingham 17.

                                      Tele : BIRMINGHAM 427 6122

Belfry Engineer                J. DUKES, 4 Springfield Crscent, Southamton.  Tele : 0703 774649

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




Hopefully, by the time this B.B. comes out, nominations for the 1974-5 committee election will be in, and will provide enough candidates for an election to be held. It goes without saying that all members should vote and as many as possible turn up to the A.G.M. itself. It is only by doing so that we can be sure that the B.E.C. reflects the wishes of its members.

Caving For Beginners

Some readers may by now have seen the booklet which represents the Southern Council's official policy on the subject of novice training - or at any rate have heard of its existence.  Since the B.E.C. is one of the clubs endorsing this booklet, it may be of interest to quote one or two of the items affecting the general philosophy behind the scheme.  For example, 'It is certainly very dangerous, and probably incorrect, to present caving as a sport or game; times taken, points reached, numbers of obstacles overcome and, above all, any aspects of competition either imagined or contrived are wholly irrelevant.  The level of personal satisfaction obtained by the successful exploration of part of a cave system must be the only criterion.  There are no summits to be conquered or records to beat in a cave. Thus, the sole raison d'etre of caving is the exploration of an alien and unknown environment.  It may better be described as a hobby.'  In this connection, schemes for the severity grading of caves, an example of which formed the subject of a recent article in the B.B. ,are acceptable provided that they are used for information rather then for any competitive reason.

Prize Crossword

To mark the 50th appearance of the B.B. crossword, this month's crossword carries a prize of a bottle of wine which, if bought at the dinner, will be paid for in the case of the first person to present the editor with a correct solution.  If, by any chance, this B.B. arrives too late for the dinner, the prize will be paid out retrospectively to the winner. Naturally, the clues are a trifle harder than normal.



Letter To The Editor

Warren Cottage,
Station  Road,
Flax Bourton.
1st August 1974.

I was interested to see in the June B.B. that a tackle refurbishing programme was in progress. As the person who, I think, produced the first ‘C’ links for the club (from an organisation with a not dissimilar abbreviated name) perhaps some comments might be of interest.  I know that much water has flowed down holes since the early days and probably the links have been the subject of considerable study, but if some of the originals are still in use, as I believe they may be the original criteria that some of us decided upon for the originals cannot have been too wide of the mark.

First and foremost, remember that not all chain links can provide suitable raw material for ‘C’ links, although chain links are probably the best part-finished starting point. The links that we used were from high strength steel chain hoist links.  High strength, that is, in relation to the average link and not to steels in general.  Many chains are too malleable and 'C' links from them are liable to open up progressively in use.  Also, do not go from really high strength steels.  The weight saving does not outweigh the handling problems or other nastinesses during prolonged life.

Second, subject each link to a proof load test.  I cannot remember the figure we used, but I know it was related to the range of cable strengths we envisaged.  It was also rather less than the heaviest failing load of cables, as we argued that links would not see the same stress concentrations and abrasion as the cables.  If any are still in service, their markings will give you the figure we used.

Third, mark the safe working load (which was half our proof load) by light stamping on the side of the curved end of each link.  It could be argued that this should be done before proof testing, but I recall that we found that we did not affect either the proof or failing loads of the links we made by stamping afterwards.

Fourth, protect each link by some form of surface protective treatment such as zinc or cadmium plating.  It will wear in time, but will prolong life and can be replaced as necessary.

Finally, as a check, take a sample of the links and load them, in pairs, to failure. This failing load should be at least 50% above the proof load.  It normally will be.  I am sure that the B.E.C. still has access to such normal facilities as test machines and plating baths.  If not, I may be able to help.

Yours Sincerely,
Tony Johnson.

Editor's Note:     Tony may be surprised to learn that all the links at present in use, as far as I know, are from the original batch - although I am not sure if they were all stamped.  Present day members may be surprised to learn something of the care which people like Tony put into making things for club tackle.  I am sure that this information will be of great use in tackle making.


Club Officer’s Reports 1974 - Hon. Secretary's Report

The past year has been a turbulent one in the B.E.C. not, unfortunately, characterised by the amount of caving that has been done or successful action on the part of the committee.  The doubling of the membership subscription to £2.50 resulted in a net fall in membership. A further year’s inflation indicates that £2.50 is very cheap for B.E.C. membership now, and perhaps some of the people who have let their membership lapse, may renew it at the time of the dinner.

Early in the year, I attended the Grampian Dinner held in the Blue School at Wells.  The catering was so excellent that we immediately negotiated with the caterer (Pat Palmer's brother) to do the B.E.C. dinner.  The Hunters agreed to do the bar and wine service.  I am sure that you will find the arrangements more than satisfactory this year.  The price of £2 is chicken feed nowadays.

The committee has had no difficulty in maintaining a quorum.  N. Jago and D. Stuckey resigned and were replaced by G. Oaten and A. Nichols respectively.

Early in its term of office, the committee had several difficult problems to deal with. Their task was not made easier by the stubborn refusal on the part of some members to answer letters. Disloyalty to the democratically elected committee by certain members who were not prepared to do the job themselves has unfortunately also occurred.  Essential business with Mr. Foxwell has not been aided by individual members carrying on their own feuds with him.  However, after four years I am glad to say that the deed of variation has now been signed by all parties and there is no longer fear that we might have to payout large sums in this respect.

Some of the difficulties of the committee were of their own making.  I would list irregular attendance; reluctance to continue when there is a danger of missing the Hunters; personality clashes between members; reluctance to discuss important but boring matters; not carrying out actions previously agreed; a tendency to make rash statements in ignorance and even to tell lies to the committee and, finally, refusal of small minorities to stand by the decision of large majorities as the more serious short-comings of the present committee.

I am not trying to slate the committee of which I have been a member, but hope these criticisms may serve as advice for the future.  I am sure the other officers of the club could list the shortcomings of the Secretary and it would be a good idea if they did so for the guidance of my successor.

Our positions in the Cambrian and Southern Councils and the National Caving Association have been strong and relations with M.R.O. have been excellent.  We have been forced by needs of access to affiliate to the Northern Council.  We supported the rejection of an application from B.A.C.I. for membership of the Cambrian Council.  The Council of Southern Caving Clubs has set up its company.  The trustees are 'Alfie', Oliver Lloyd, Frank Murphy (of Spelaeo Rhal) and myself.  Mention should be made here of the excellent work done by Nigel Taylor in extending the M.R.O. store.

Nigel Taylor is not offering himself for re-election.  He has worked extremely hard at the running of the Belfry, always difficult and this year particularly so.  He richly deserves the thanks of the club.  My own reasons for not standing this year are complicated.  Suffice to say that I wish my successor well and will afford him any assistance I can.

There are four new candidates this year, a healthy sign, and I will just remind the electorate that one copy of the ballot paper is sent to each member who has paid his subscription by the date on which they are sent out.  It may be returned to me by post or handed to the chairman at the A.G.M. Persons paying their subscription later are not entitled to vote, and no may be given a second paper according to the rules.

A. Thomas.
Hon. Sec.


B.E.C. at P.S.M.

Andrew Nichols sends us this account of the recent trip to the Pyrenees.  He also sent a covering letter which promises more accounts from some of the others who went on this expedition.

For the last three years, Andy Nichols has trundled his way South to the Basses Pyrenees, there to fester not ten miles from some really difficult caves, as a recovery from ever sillier exams.  This year he was joined by Malcolm Jarrett, Sue Holmes, John Dukes, Graham Wilton-Jones and a canvas mansion full of Palmers; nominally as guests of the Cambridge University Caving Club - though the last of them left a couple of days after we arrived, deciding the superb weather was far too good to spend anywhere but at the seaside.

We arrived on the 15th August and stayed until the end of the month at our usual riverside campsite at Licq-Atherey.  By the 17th, even Andy had recovered from the trauma of arrival and he showed Malcolm, Sue and John around Betzulako Harpia, a cave high above the Col d'Erroimendi - pushed over the years by C.U.C.C. to the respectable length of 4 kilometres and notable for some excellent formations; the perfectly preserved claw marks of cave bears who climb fifty foot pitches, and lots of loose rocks.

The following day Andy, John and Malcolm struggled up a nearby mountain, with C.U.C.C's Mike Perryman, to descend Betchenkako Lezia.  Further up the mountain is the Gouffre d'Aphanices, discovered in 1972 and with three big pitches followed by a monstrous one of 328 metres (1,076 ft.) – wet!  Betchenka is much milder, with 180ft entrance followed by a series of vast chambers - an enjoyable trip which gripped John's imagination so much that he will deal with it in a separate report.

On Monday 19th, we festered.  A hotel in nearby Tardets burnt down, which whiled away the afternoon until Mike and Pat arrived with their children and Graham.  Tuesday saw us at the Col d’Erroimendi again to complete the exploration of Baratchegagnako Harpia, a task left for Andy by C.U.C.C.  He, John, Graham Malcolm and Sue were joined by Steve Dickenson (Dickie, staying on after a joint E.P.C. - U.L.S.A. push in the Pierre.  Baratchegagna is a dreadful cave, only 400 feet deep but formed entirely in one strongly shaled bed of rock which may look like limestone but which has the strength of wet cardboard.  Great sheets of it peeled off wherever we went.   Fortunately, the three points to investigate all linked up again with the series discovered the year before, and only one was of any length, a few hundred feet of shattered rift found by Dickie.  It led to a substantial chamber with two pitches of 35 feet leading off, which he and Andy descended to confirm the link with the lower series.  The length of new passage amounted to some 400 feet, leaving no possibilities for extension, so we fought our way out through the rain of boulders and went back to Lucq.

The 21st provided us with genuine rain.  We went for a walk up the Ehujarre gorge from Ste Engrace, a very silly business where Andy proved to be the only person without a cagoule and kept moaning like a demented Yeti about how wet he was.  Thursday was overcast but drier, so the whole party assembled at the Relais de la P.S.M. for a walk which took in the Lepineux and Tete Sauvage entrances to the Pierre, plus the Pic d'Atlas, which at 2,064 m (6,772ft) gave us some incredible views of the miles of barren lapiaz through the holes in the cloud below us.  During the walk the party came across two crates of unopened bottles of wine left ('abandoned' was the legal opinion) in a grassy patch in the clints.  Six B.E.C. members collapsed in a faint on the spot but, with admirable self-control, limited themselves to 'borrowing' only a litre which ended up empty after a couple of hundred yards.

Sad to say, a few miles later, three of the six sneaked off into the mist again in the direction of the bottles "just to see if they're still there, you understand. We wouldn't want anything to happen to them, would we?"  Nothing had. John, Malcolm and Andy went into a huddle and decided that nobody would mind if we went back with a bottle each in our pockets, but we were the B.E.C.

Local shepherds must have been surprised to see John ambling down the track to the relais, whistling nonchalantly, then hear him galloping away every time the mist swirled back and pretending to be a Pyrenean sheep in a hurry.  Behind him, Andy and Malcolm lurched about in the fog, carrying something that rattled and bumped.

"Hey, Stop!  What's that noise?  Not another bloody shepherd?"

"What noise?"

"Shhh….There it goes again!  Shall we run?"

 "Oh, that!  My guts again! - better carry on!"

…….lurch, rattle, totter………..

“Christ, this crate's heavy!  I must have a rest!"

“Well, we've got fifteen bottles in it.  'Course it's heavy!"

“Let’s drink another one now.  Make it a bit lighter."

A grinding of gears comes out of the mist, and Andy and Malc drop the crate in a panic and leap off the roadside to hide in a hole in the clints, listening for "We are the Exploration Club" played on a sheep bell which would indicate the return of John in the getaway car.  But this is only another shepherd's car.  Andy and Malc manage to find the crate again and pick it up, cursing. Eventually they reach the relais and creep forward to see what has gone wrong.

In true B.E.C. tradition, the getaway car has broken down.  A flat battery between us and the biggest wine haul in history.  In the end, we just load the crate in and it rattles so much as we bump-start John's car down 4,000ft of hill that every gendarme between the relais and Pau must have heard us.  Cunningly, we avoid them by going straight to the nearest hostelry.

On the 23rd, the weather changed, and in the whole party walked off up the extremely impressive Kakouetta Gorge from Ste Engrace to a point where the path ran out and the heat, the dust and the flies became too much.

"Of course, you can't get up the 100 ft cliffs at the end without pegs and etriers", the little man at the cafe assured us.

"Nonsense!  We'll find a way up if it takes all day!" said Mike, Graham, Steve and Malc. They did, and it was desperate - and it took all day.

"So what? "said Pat, Andy, John and Sue. "We're going back."  And that didn't take any time at all!

The weather was equally good the next day, so we went for a short walk up the Holzarte Gorge, the neighbour to the Kakouetta.  The highpoint was the suspension bridge across it which might have been designed by Brunel after the pub, and looked as if it hadn't been maintained since.  A good four hundred feet up, it was - and vibrated to the lightest step of the smallest Palmer.  Some walked slowly across; some shuffled uneasily, wishing they hadn't eaten sardines and raw onions for lunch; Malcolm pounded across it like a rampaging elephant, bellowing, "Don't panic!" at every bounce.

On Sunday, 25th everyone went up to the E.D.F. Hut, as Andy had negotiated a trip in the P.S.M. via Ruben Gomez and Doninique Prebende.  Entry was by the E.D.F. tunnel to the Salle Verna, the second largest chamber in the world.  The non-cavers (Pat, the two children and Steve) followed us a short distance up the streamway before being conducted back to the entrance.  Is Miss K. Palmer, at 5 years old, the youngest person ever to have been in the deepest cave in the world?  The remaining six then set off back upstream towards the foot of the Lapineux shaft and the memorial to Loubens - but we'd left it too late starting and were able to get no further than the traverse above the Salle Chevalier before time turned us back.

That evening was also marked by a birthday party, or rather by its beginning, since the nearby town of Tardets was 'en fete' all week and allowed several of us to stagger round with the level of blood in our alcohol systems reduced to normal Mendip level for days on end.

Monday was occupied again by Betchenkako Lezia where John, Malcolm, Sue, Andy and Graham had an enjoyable trip which took in all the known cave, estimated as some three kilometres with a maximum depth of 130 metres (426ft).

Tuesday was a fester day for all of us, combined with a trip to Oloron Ste Marie to borrow pitons for Wednesday's epic climb.

The climb, led by Mike and John, supported by Malcolm Sue and Graham, was to recover a maypole in the Grotte de la Stalactite Deviee, a short dry and well-decorated cave next to the great cascade resurgence in the Kakouetta Gorge. The resurgence is a major one, possibly for Anialarra, and the maypole had been used in an unsuccessful attempt to by-pass the fifth sump behind the cascade itself.  To recover it, an 18m (60ft) overhanging pitch had to be pegged all the way.  Bolts, which might have eased the problem, were unobtainable and after five hours our heroes were just over a third of the way up.

The following day, the same team minus Mike and Sue climbed another five metres (16ft), but had to abandon the job through lack of time and bolts.  Two pitons shattered in use, which didn't help.  So the maypole is still there and the passage it was used to reach is still un-entered.

Thursday was the last day.  Mike, Steve and Andy crawl up a small but ludicrously steep mountain which overhung Licq and had to be climbed if only for the name - Le Chapeau du Gendarme. Later, Mike, Pat and Andy took advantage of the cloudless sky to revisit the relais and photograph the lapiaz, followed by John, Malcolm and Graham after they had removed all the tackle from La Stalactite Deviee.  Then everyone went to the hotel at Lanne for a meal and an evening on the alcohol.  Or perhaps that was the evening before?  Or did we stay in Licq that evening?  The trouble with these week-long birthdays is that they make everything damnably confusing.  Anyway, wherever we went, the white crème de Menthe fairly flowed!  And on Friday 30th August, we left for England.


Club Officer’s Reports 1974 Climbing Report

Once again, the climbing section seems to stagnate, but, like a volcano, ready to erupt into life.  SNOW - that’s what we were waiting for last winter to erupt us to life!  We had hoped to get a little snow and ice climbing done in North Wales, but the weather was against us, with little or no snow, so nothing was done.

There were no organised meets arranged mainly because of the three day week, and the increase in the cost of fuel.

The start of May saw interest taking place on Thursday evenings at the Avon Gorge. Then members started doing some of the H.V.S. routes in the gorge on Sundays.  On a couple of occasions we really excelled ourselves and went to Wintour's Leap, Monmouthshire, where we nearly frightened ourselves to death.

The climbing holiday this year was at Pembrokeshire and North Wales.  Let's hope the climbing done was worthwhile and that we will read about it in the B.B.

I think the main reason for lack of interest in the section is the areas we climb in.  We are lucky to have such a large chunk of rock as the Avon Gorge on our door step, but if you do not climb constantly at H.V.S. or above, the routes left open to you are limited.  Therefore going the same climbs week after week gets somewhat tedious.  The Cheddar Gorge, lovely beauty spot, which is exactly what it is.  In the summer you can't climb there because of tourists. In the winter it's either too wet, too cold or the days are too short.

Let’s hope that, with the coming of new blood into the section, the fire to climb will once more be rekindled and give the climbing section the new lease of life it so sadly needs.

Climbing Sec.


Don’t forget the A.G.M & DINNER. SATURDAY 5th OCTOBER 1974

A.G.M. starts at the Belfry at 10.30 a.m. Dinner is the same evening.  BOOK WITH BARRY FOR THE DINNER BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE! (See last month’s B.B. for full details).


Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany

By 'Wig'

111.     Priddy Green Sink.  Fred Davies and Ray Mansfield have almost reached their goal.  Cowsh Aven is now within twenty feet of the surface. A radio transmission located the spot in mid august and found it to be at the rear of the cowsheds (shibbins, if you are of West Country farming stock!)  As part of the agreement with the Maines, Fred has agreed to block off Priddy Green Sink. He’s laid a concrete block over the entrance and covered it with soil - so it's not lost for ever.

112.    East Twin Valley - Top Sink.  Wig is commencing a dig at this site.  Anyone interested in digging it will be very welcome. During the first week of September, Jim Durston and Wig visited the site one Thursday afternoon and found the water very high.  Digging was out, but inside the hole came a fine low rumbling noise of falling water. Maybe the Burrington master cave!

113.     Belfry fire repositioned.  Our grateful thanks to Bucket Tilbury for the magnificent job of removing the Belfry fire from its old position against the rear wall and replacing it in its new position just off centre of the room.  Apart from the chimney - now free of the double bend which was necessary to get it out through the rear wall, it allows people to sit round it and will throw more heat into the room.

114.    M.R.O. goes 999.  As from September 1st 1974, the callout procedure has been changed.  In future, all that is necessary is to dial 999 and ask the operator for: -


After the police have been contacted, STAY AT THE PHONE UNTIL CONTACTED BY AN M.R.O. WARDEN.  The M.R.O. signs outside caves have all been changed.  They were changed by Prew, Wig and Fred Davies together with helpers on August 31st, and the old signs were auctioned at the C.R.O. conference in September.

115.    New Caving Reports at the A.G.M.  Two new Caving Reports will be available.  Number 14, the long awaited PYRENEAN REPORT by Roy Bennett and the first of the journal type of CAVE NOTES 1974.  Both reports will cost 30p each.  Only 100 copies are available of each report. Also, a reprint of Caving Report number 1 Redcliffe Caves, Bristol, available at 25p - only 50 copies of this printing.  The whole range of other Caving Reports will be offered for sale as well.

116.    Combwich (Cannington) Quarry Cave.  Is threatened with possible quarrying.  The quarry owners have applied for an extension to their site - and the cave lies on this extension.  Prof. E.K. Tratman has submitted a report to the Ministry of the Environment.

117.     Roy Bennett at Chepstow Roy's latest site is the best to date.  After many years of walking the area and digging at several possible sites, he has at last located a small but extremely interesting cave.  Details and a survey of the cave will appear in Caving Report number 19 (due to appear later this year).  Anyone interested in digging with Roy on Wednesday evenings should first phone Roy at his home after 6 p.m. ( BRISTOL 627813 )

118.   Terry Baker's Dig.  Near the Mells Ironworks is proving very interesting according to Nig Taylor."  It lies on the edge of the river, in a similar position to Little Neath River Cave and if it goes it should prove very wet and interesting!  Talking of Nig Taylor, I wonder if he has given up the game of cops and robbers?  Anyway, N.R.A.S.A. are back together again digging somewhere (won't say where) but it appears to be an interesting dig.

119.   Rock Drills.  Several clubs have developed various types of rock drill to aid in persuading caves to move chemically.  Tim Large has spent quite a sum of money and time producing an improved rock drill based on an U.L.S.A. design.  It should prove interesting.  What about a paper for the journal type of Caving Report, Tim?

120.   Tights for Cavers!  Those who still depend on woollies for their caving exploits will breathe a sigh of relief that there are nylon tights on the market of interest to cavers.  Long Johns used to be the main stand by for the woolly wearers, but their price - about £2 to £3 nowadays - made one think twice about buying them.  Now nylon tights have been produced for football and athletic training - complete with zip if you require one - and are obtainable at Lewis's and Jones's at Bristol.  They are comfortable and warm.  (Editor's Note: Any truth in the rumour that ex W.D. carrying bags are to be replaced with a smart line in caver’s handbags?)

121.   Material for the B. B.  and for Caving Reports should be forthcoming from the various individuals who went on continental holidays this year - and who were lucky enough to avoid the collapsing travel agents.

122.   Swildons Hole.  The Wessex Cave Club have done it again.  An 80 odd page booklet of photographic record of Swildons Hole, including 60 pages of photographs going as far as Swildons 12 (although the photograph does give the impression of being taken in any stream cave!)  The price is £12 leather bound and £9 rexine bound and the edition is limited to 300 copies.  Apparently Wessex members are 'falling over themselves' to buy a copy on the basis that the book will become rare and will be a worth while investment.  This is rather akin to the stamp collector’s first day covers, which are generally ignored by keen collectors as they are manufactured specifically for this purpose. One wonders whether W.C.C. members will adopt the same approach to this speculative issue of a publication which deserves wider circulation.  The book is dedicated to Albert Maine, who deserves the grateful thanks of all cavers.

123.   Well at Bathford.  The first of the new multi-subject Caving Reports contains a description of a well at Bathford which was examined by Alan Thomas, Dave Irwin and Tony Tucker on the 18th August at the invitation of the owner who was put in touch with Alan by Martin Cavender of Harris and Harris, the club solicitors.

124.   Caves of Derbyshire.  A copy of the new edition of this book has been donated to the club library by Tony Oldham.  As many will know, Tony deals in caving publications and is prepared to send any member his current list of available books free.  Write to A.D. Oldham, 17 Freemantle Rd, Eastville, Bristol.  Incidentally, Tony informs me that Northern Caves, Volume I is out of print though some shops may have stocks left.

125.   Social and Scandal.  Congratulations to Maggie and Tim Large on the birth of a son - it appears to live up to its father's name by being 8lb 12oz.  Doing it to excess again, Large!  Our congratulation too to Alfie and Sally who have another daughter, born a day after Tim and Maggie's son.  In the next bed to Sally at Paulton Hospital she was surprised to find Lyn, Mike Baker's wife who has also had a son. Phil and Yo Kingston will be on their way to New Zealand in October.

126.   Cuthbert’s Celebrations.  On the 4th September, a distinguished gathering met at the Belfry and, under the leadership of the venerable Bennett and with Kangy following some way behind carefully carrying two bottles of champers together with the glasses (actually plastic cream cartons).  It was gratifying to see many of the early leaders present even though two of them didn't actually make it to the cave entrance but sat it out in the solitude of the Hunters.  The main party descended via the Waterfall and Wet pitches to the Water Chute and on through the By-Pass to congregate in the Dining Room.  An argument developed as to the location of the concrete dining table.  However, this was located and the drinks set up in an orderly fashion.

Kangy, having poured the drinks out and passed round the remainder of the booze in the bottle, called on the venerable Bennett to propose the toast to St. Cuthbert.  Having duly taken our fill of the sparkling wine, the discussion moved on to talk of having a similar event to mark the 25th anniversary.

Those present included the two most important - they descended the rift first to the head of Arête Pitch - Viv Brown and Roy Bennett, followed by Kangy; Martin Mills; (straight from his three months tour of the U.S.A.); John Eatough; Colin Clarke; Mike Palmer; Mike Wheadon; another venerable - Chris Falshaw; Phil Kingston; Tony Meadon; the Golden Oldie of Cowsh fame - Fred Davies; Wig; Tim Large; Barry (Goldilocks) Lane; Steve Tuck; John Attwood; Martin Webster (again, straight from a U.S.A. trip) and last but not least, Dave (Twittering) Turner.

Following the leaders get together, all surfaced and joined Albert Francis; Norman Petty and Roger Stenner in the pub.

127.   Polypropylene rope.  Several lengths of No 4 rope have been purchased by Graham Wilton-Jones for use as lifelines.  These will be added to the club tackle in the next few weeks.  Nylon rope is also being obtained - details later.  An article by John Hunt on S.R.T. will be of interest to members and will be published in the second Cave Notes to be published later on this year.

This edition (Caving Report No 19) will also include extensions to O.F.D. with surveys by Bucket Tilbury and Graham Wilton-Jones; a surveying feature 'Leg Length as a function of station to station accuracy in Centreline Surveying' by Alfie; Rod's Pot - a new survey by Wig, and details of the Withyhill survey - also Fairy Cave Quarry complete with a simplified survey.


Some further information on Deneholes

Since the recent article on Deneholes, we have received a letter from Roy Musgrove, of the Chelsea S.S. who writes as follows: -

Yes, people actually read exchange copies of the B.B.  I was interested to see the article in the July issue on the Hangman's Wood Deneholes.  They have been threatened by a road construction scheme.

However, I was disappointed to see no reference in the bibliography to records of the Chelsea Speleological Society, Volume 4, entitled simply 'Deneholes'.  This was written by Harry Pearman, founder member of C.S.S. who is a specialist in the subterranean South East of England.  It describes 73 Denehole sites, discusses their origin, and has a bibliography of 77 items.  It agrees that most were probably dug for chalk.

I enclose some advertising 'blurb' covering all our current publications on S.E. England, which you may like to make available to B.E.C. members, especially the D authors of the article.  How about getting 'Wig' to buy copies for the library?

We'll do better than that, Roy, and publish details of the publications you sent in this B.B. for all B.E.C. members.


Volume IV.


Volume V.



Volume VI.







by Harry Pearman.  Published 1965, reprinted 1970.  72pages 26 illustrations.

by John Henderson, Brian Hillman and Harry Pearman.  Published 1968.  84 pages with 33 illustrations.

by Harry Pearman.  106 pages.


All three volumes are duplicated, quarto.  Volumes IV and V 50p each, while Volume VI is 75p.  Volumes IV and V describe sites of speleological interest South East England. Some sites are natural, being formed by sea or river action.  There are also many disused mines in the area, some many miles in length.

Deneholes are curious excavations which abound in Kent and parts of Essex and comprise a network of chalk-cut chambers entered by vertical shafts.  Some sites are follies, dug as single passages or labyrinths at the whim of a landowner.  Some places are legendary secret passages although their true functions were often less romantic.  There are also a number of cavities which are complete mysteries.

Each volume gives plans and locations of each underground place, relates what is known of its history and explains the position about obtaining access at the time of going to print.  They are unique documents of interest to the geographer, explorer, antiquarian and archaeologist.  Since many of these sites will disappear or be deliberately closed or obliterated, they will also perform a useful function by recording what exists for future researchers or land developers.

Among the places described in Volume VI are the remains of a trial bore for the channel tunnel, which lies hidden in the sea cliffs near Folkestone; the massive underground folly at Eastry, the lengthy subterranean conduit system for Greenwich Palace; the chalk mine which collapsed and destroyed part of Plumstead; the underground forts at Dover the natural caves 100 feet beneath Blackheath and the alleged smugglers' caves at Pegwell Bay.

Enquiries and orders to: Chelsea Speleological Society, c/o 385, Kings Road, London SW10 OLR.


Monthly Crossword – Number 50.  Prize Crossword



















































































1. Cave feature found in claps I’ll argue about. (6)
5. One of a triple in Swildons? (3)
6. Features of a master cave? (6)
7. Flowerpot, presumably, has no need for this feature. (3)
9. See 13 across for example. (1,1)
11. Backward cry for Mendip swallet. (3)
12. Thus we have it. (2)
13. 9 across Cerberus? (3)
15. 7,037 lbs approximately for climbing aids. (6)
16. 2 down was interested in this. (3)
17. Changes of this nature have occurred in G.B. (6)


1. Forced a passage – pr perhaps shed – up. (6)
2. A lead this was associated with Mendip once. (4)
3. Tore again this deposited material. (9)
4. Mythical underground region forming inclinations of fault planes? (5)
8. Strode otherwise for a caving club’s region. (6).
10. Mixed oversize rug found in some caves. (5)
14. Exclamation and French for caves! (4)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword



















































































Club Committee

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

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

Members           M. Bishop, D.J. Irwin, B. Wilton, G. Oaten, N. Taylor, A.R. Thomas, A. Nicholls.

Officers of the Club

Honorary Secretary        A.R THOMAS, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269

Honorary Treasurer         B. WILTON, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol.

Caving Secretary            A. NICHOLLS, Address to follow.

Climbing Secretary         G. OATEN, Address to follow.

Hut Warden                   N. TAYLOR, Whiddons, Chilcote, Somerset.  Tele : WELLS 72338

Belfry Engineer              M. BISHOP, Bishop’s Cottage, The Batch, Priddy, Wells, Som.  Tele : PRIDDY 370

Tacklemaster                 G. WILTON-JONES, 17 Monkham’s Drive, Watton, Thetford, Norfolk

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

Honorary Librarian          D.J IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells Som.  Tel : PRIDDY 369

Publications Editor         D.J IRWIN  As above

B.B. Postal                   Brenda. WILTON  Address as for Barry




November is, of course, the time when the annual list of paid-up members is issued.  In spite of fears to the contrary, the current list in this B.B. shows a total of 206 members - a gain of 2 on last year. While this is nothing to get wildly excited about, it is at least not the loss in membership that was predicted earlier on this year.

There is a danger when looking at membership figures of trying to read too much into them. However, on the principle that fools rush in where angels fear to tread, your editor will - perhaps foolishly - draw a few conclusions which may give the new membership secretary (when he or she has been appointed!) some food for thought.

There is no point, in my opinion, in having a vast drive for new members for its own sake. All this is most likely to do is to produce an unwieldy club full of the wrong sort of people.  On the other hand, the legacy we have with us as part of the price of getting the Belfry built is a large number of life members (27% of our total membership) who pay no further subscriptions - and a way to improve this ratio might not come amiss.

Incidentally, judging by the voting figures, the life members do not show up very well since only 34% of them voted - against 56% of the ordinary members.  This may, in some cases, be due to the fact that some life members, although still interested in the club, feel too out of touch to be able to vote.  On the other hand, it may be that some life members are no longer particularly interested.

If you look at the way in which club membership has grown over the years, you will find that the intake of new members has remained almost constant every year, at average of 27 per year since the end of the last war.  This year, with 24 new members, is quite typical - and there have been very few years which have not been.

The variation lies in the pattern of those who leave.  About half of these in a normal year are made up of people who have recently joined and - presumably - have not found caving, or climbing, or the B.E.C., to their liking.  Again this year is no exception - and there is little we can do about it.  The other half is made up of members of some years standing who, again presumably, find that they are losing interest or contact with the present club.  This is where I believe we could - and should - make some effort.

Many people have said to me that we should try to provide more for our older members. Perhaps gentler caving trips followed by social evenings from time to time.  It has even been suggested that we hold an older members dinner.  Other suggestions I have heard are that we should try to get older members up in the Belfry so that they could again get to know the present members of the club.

Looking at the present membership list, it is pleasant to see once more names like Arthur Ball, Stan Gee, Norman Petty, Phil Townsend and Mike Wheadon who, amongst others, have all re-joined this year.  With a bit of imagination and a little work, we could turn this trickle into a flood.

I must repeat that the above represents my personal view.  Perhaps you do not agree?  Perhaps you do?  In either case, why not write in with suggestions; offers, condemnations etc - so that we can all give the new membership secretary something to think about!



Access to St. Cuthbert’s Swallet

Access to St. Cuthbert’s Swallet is controlled by the B. E. C. and all parties visiting the cave MUST have a B.E.C. leader or a guest leader from another club.  A party wanting a trip in the cave should write to the Caving Secretary c/o The Belfry, Wells Rd, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  The Caving Sec. will then find them a leader, but MUST be given:-

1.                    The name of the visiting Club.

2.                    The date and time of the proposed trip.

3.                    The number in the party.

4.                    A stamped addressed envelope.

5.                    ONE MONTH'S NOTICE.

It is always possible, of course, for parties to arrange trips independently with leaders they know, or to take a chance on a leader being available when they visit the Belfry.  The system of guest leaders allows clubs who regularly visit the area to get their own leaders for St. Cuthbert’s.  To become a guest leader, you need to have a thorough knowledge of the cave (there are five specified routes which must be known) and "a responsible attitude to caving and cave preservation."

All parties visiting the cave with B.E.C. leaders are automatically covered by the B.E.C.'s insurance up to £100,000 - so all guest leaders are required to have insurance up to the same amount which will cover their party and indemnify the B.E.C. Potential guest leaders can get application forms from the Caving Secretary, who will arrange trips to cover the specified routes.  On all trips, the leader or guest leader has the ultimate say, and will refuse to begin or continue a trip if he thinks the party is inadequately equipped or incompetent.

These access conditions for St. Cuthbert’s have been published at the request of the Caving Secretary, Andy Nichols - who would like them made as widely known as possible, to avoid any misunderstanding from visiting clubs.


Maypole Dance

Another account of the Club's doings in the Pyrenees this year.  This time by Malcolm Jarrett

As may be imagined, mush of our time was spent while in the Pyrenees - in cases with French speleologists.  Notable amongst those was the infamous Ruben Gomez, expedition’s controller of ARSIP, and founder member of Karst.  ARSIP (Association des Rescherches Spelaeologiques Internationale de la Pierre St. Martin) is responsible for all aspects of caving within the area. KARST. (Kommittee d'Action Revolutionaire de Spelaeogogie et Terrorisme) is the nearest thing to the Elsan Club in France.  Amongst their aims are the destruction of the thirteen stations of the Cross at Lourdes and the complete removal of stal from show caves.  They produce a clandestine news sheet which we hope to obtain soon.

Ruben did much to help us, and we felt that we ought to repay the debt.  He seemed quite pleased to have half a dozen tame English cavers available.  The first idea to come to his mischievous mind was the de-rigging of the Annialarra. Before we said anything, we asked Dicky from Eldon what he thought of Annialarra.  "Well, it's like a 1,400 foot pitch with a few sparse ledges. Oh, yes!  It's damp and about 5OC."  Tactfully, we forgot about Annialarra and asked Ruben what else we could do.  He mused for a while and then said we could go and see his employer, Max Cosyns, who had a few jobs to do.

Max Cosyns has a vast range of interests, from nuclear physics to latex making.  He had been maypoling in the Grotte des Statactites Deviees some years ago, and wanted his pole back.

The G. des S.D. is situated in the Kakouetta Gorge.  Kakouetta is excellent with 600 foot cliffs on either side of a fair sized river and some fine speleological features.  The first mile or so of the gorge has been equipped with - bridges and hand wires to improve access.  The remainder of the gorge becomes wider, but very heavy going and there is no safe exit at the top end - as four of us found out when our pioneering spirits overwhelmed us. Another aspect which delighted us was the lack of commercialisation.  The gorge is owned by the local people who levy a very reasonable 30p charge for the use of their bridges.

One mile up the gorge is the Kakouetta cascade, emerging from about 40 feet up on the left hand side, looking upstream.  Little is known about the cave beyond this resurgence, except that in the fifth sump the cave plunges downhill, and that somewhere beyond here is a reservoir of huge proportions.  A few feet further up the gorge is the G. des S.D.  There are two ways into the cave. The first involves a 120 metre abseil (393 feet 6 inches as it used to be) passing an entrance 60 metres (197') up the cliff.  The second involves a short climb into a large but fairly well hidden entrance. The first method would have been preferable, as it avoids the 30p charge, and makes all the caving downhill. Unfortunately, we had only a 90 metre (295’) rope and the prospect of six or seven of us swinging on the end of it to stretch a further 30 metres out of it did not appeal.  Furthermore, we did not trust Max’s ten year old memories of where in the cliff top jungle the correct abseil point was.  A third problem was the possibility of playing Aunt Sally with ten ton boulders falling in tourists mouths as they gaped in awe (this is really an excuse for chickening out, but I've just thought it up). This left the alternative lower entrance.  Max said that it should be fairly easy, as there were some old wooden ladders in place.

And so Sue Holmes; Graham Wilton-Jones; Mike Palmer; John Dukes and I scrambled up the 3 metre (10') climb into the entrance.  Despite the grandiose proportions of the entrance, the only way into the rest of the cave is through a letter box ten feet off the ground. Fortunately there was a nearby sapling and we used this to stuff the ladder through the entrance.  Mike climbed the ladder and made it safe for the rest of us.  Inside the windy entrance, the cave opens out into a frost-shattered zone, which gently rises into a 12' ‘D’ section stal-lined tunnel.  This rises steadily via a short climb to a windy constriction, after which the cave resumes its old proportions.  Here we met the first of the fixed ladders.  They must have been frail when built in 1955, but with an eighth of an inch of stal cement all over them, they were just comical.  Kicking them aside, we rigged electron ladders in their place.  After another joke ladder, we climbed a few more feet into the final chamber, where a 12 metre (39’) climb awaited us.  This was the main obstacle between us and Max's maypole.  A 12 metre nylon bootlace hung tantalising from the void, but was not available for tackle hauling.  The remains of a tree lay rotting on the floor, after a previous party's climbing attempts.  This improvised maypole later broke under its own weight.

Unfortunately, we had no bolts or nuts for artificial climbing.  We had left this gear behind; thinking that we would do only sporting trips.  Ruben helped us borrow a few Simond pegs and we had to make do with these.  Mike and I ferreted around for a safe belay point to drive a peg in.  This proved fairly difficult, as most of the cave was stal'd over, and smooth. Eventually we managed to find a safe anchor and set about the climb.  An interesting experiment was the use of a well-known clog figure of eight the belay the ladder.  John and I had practised the idea up trees and found it successful.  Underground it was reasonable, but we were using 12mm 3-strand rope, and this tends to drag excessively.

After belaying the second, Mike set out up the climb, making reasonable progress as far as a ledge, and getting several runners in.  By this time, Sue had produced cups of piping hot tea, and this enticed Mike back down.  Next, John took over, and managed to get a few metres above the point that Mike had reached, over a slight overhang.  Progress was necessarily slow, so we had to leave at this point in order to get out of the Gorge in daylight.

Next day, bright and early, John, Graham and I returned to the cafe at the head of the gorge. The weather was steaming hot, so we lingered in the cafe as long as we dared.  After we had exhausted all the excuses for staying there, we staggered off up the gorge at mid day.  This time, we were much better equipped - sandwiches; soup; chocolate and sweets augmented our diet of tea.

I climbed into the letter box and wandered off into the cave.  Whilst I was playing with my stinky, Graham and John had decided that the sapling which we had used to stuff the ladder into the letter box might be a healthy addition to our collection of gear, so I lurched off into the cave covered in food parcels and primuses, while the others dragged their trophy into the cave.  Back at the scene of the crime, we decided that the previous line of approach led to a nasty blank section of wall, and that it would be better to alter the line of attack.  John removed all the runners from the previous climb, and we turned our attention to a greasy stal slope instead.  John made good progress to a point halfway up the climb, protecting himself well with pegs.  From this point, the climb became steeper and the holds fewer.  John returned to ground level and we passed a good time chatting. I then re-climbed and started to place a peg at a point where we could use caving ladders as etriers.  I started tapping the peg into its hole.  The peg did not produce the correct noises, but none of them had so far.  I put this down to the rock being different from normal outdoor specimens.  The peg went in a good way, and I was just giving it the finishing taps when it broke in two.  This was not too funny at the time, because we had been hanging on these pegs - and hanging on to them for some considerable time.  Obviously, we had to review the situation, and after looking at the way ahead, and the lack of protection, we decided to abandon the attempt.

In order to clear up quickly, John lowered me down the climb and I knocked out the runners as I passed them.  We had to leave a runner at the top of the climb, but this was preferable to climbing down.  The peg on which I had rested while placing the ill-fated one had split and came out looking like Britannia’s trident!

So we had to give up, purely for lack of safety equipment.  This was a shame, after Mike and John had tried so hard.  Next time, we’ll take an armoury of gear.  One small compensation was being allowed into the gorge free of charge.  The local community regards its limestone and caves as an asset.  Perhaps a few people over here should take note!

Editor's Note: The above article came complete with a message from the typist - Graham Wilton-Jones.

Just in case it sounds as though I went along simply to make up the numbers; carry tackle; drink beer at the cafe and cast aspersions at the climbing abilities of my fellows, that's right!  Yes, to all four reasons!  I also have a complete photographic record of the climb which will go with photographs to be taken next year during the successful completion of the climb.  And, while on the subject of next year.

John and I are already making plans for a return visit to the Pyrenees.  We will be away from Saturday, 19th July until Sunday the 31st August.  Some of the agenda is already planned, and there will be opportunity for sporting caving; scientific work of a limited nature original exploration and surveying, walking, sightseeing, imbibing and socialising. We shall be staying behind the Hotel des Touristes at Licq (some 60km out of Pau, not far from the Franco-Spanish border and equally close to the P.S.M.)  For about three weeks this will be our base.  John and I will also spend a week or more camped on the lapiaz - the vast, bare, limestone plateau between France and Spain.  Several members of club have shown an interest in this visit, and a number of these are definitely coming for periods of two to three weeks.  THIS TRIP IS OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE CLUB, AND ANYONE INTERESTED IS CORDIALLY INVITED ALONG.  Please get in touch with us as soon as you can, even if you cannot be certain of your arrangements so far in advance.

And don't anybody DARE say they didn't know early enough!

Anyone else who might be planning a trip - either in this country or abroad and who would be prepared for others to join in, should send in details to the B.B., so that the trip can be publicised and members given plenty of notice to join in.


Bristol Exploration Club - Membership List 1974


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


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


Bob Bidmead

63 Cassell Road, Fishponds, Bristol


Martin Bishop

Bishops Cottage, Priddy


E. Bishop

Bishops Cottage, Priddy


Sybil Bowden-Lyle

PO Box 15, Iganga, Busoga, Uganda

364 L

P. Blogg

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

336 L

Alan Bonner

Crags Farm Close, Little Broughton, Cokermouth, Cumberland

751 L

T.A. Brookes

87 Wyatt Road, London, SW2


R. Brown

26 Cranleigh Gardens, Luton, Beds.


Mrs Brown

26 Cranleigh Gardens, Luton, Beds.


Viv Brown

3 Cross Street, Kingswood, Bristol


G. Buckham

13 Grosvenor Place, London Road, Bath


Tessa Burt

66 Roundwood Lane, Harpendon, Herts.


Ian Calder

Plas Pencelli, Pencelli, Brecon


Penelope Calder

Plas Pencelli, Pencelli, Brecon


R. Chandler

6 Blackcap close, Southgate, Crawley, West Sussex


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


Bob Cross

122 Pearson Lane, Bradford 9


I.M. Daniels

Handsworth, Pilgrims way, Chilham, Canterbury, Kent

405 L

Frank Darbon

PO Box 325, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

423 L

Len Dawes

The Lodge, Main Street, Winster, Matlock, Derbyshire


Garth Dell

8 Portway, Old Sarum, Salisbury, Wiltshire


J. Dibben

17 Nevill Road, Bramshall, Stockport, Cheshire


Colin Dooley

497A City Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham 17


Angela Dooley

497A City Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham 17

164 L

Ken Dobbs

85 Fox Rd., Beacon Heath, Exeter, Devon


John Dukes

4 Springford Crescent, Lordswood, Southampton


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

870 Kebourne 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

3 Kinsley Road, Easton, Bristol


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 Shenfield Road, Brentwood, Essex


E.M. Glanville

Jocelyn House Mews, Chard, Somerset


Martin Grass

14 Westlea Road, Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts


Chris Hall

65 Valley View Road, Paulton, Bristol

432 L

Nigel Hallet

144 Stockwood Road, Bristol 4


P. Hamm

Address unknown

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


Rodney Hobbs

Rose Cottage, West End, Nailsea, Bristol


Sid Hobbs

Hokerstone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells, Somerset


Sylvia Hobbs

Hokerstone Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells, Somerset


J.G. Hodgson

72 Chesterfield Road, Bristol 6


Mrs Hodgson

72 Chesterfield Road, Bristol 6


Mike Hogg

32 Birchley Heath, Nuneaton, Warks


Miss S. Holmes

32 Birchley Heath, Nuneaton, Warwickshire


J.H. Hookings

32 Churchill Road, Catshill, Bromsgrove, Worcs.

387 L

George Honey

Droppsta, 19044, Odensala, Sweden


C. Howell

131 Sandond Road, Edgebaston, Birmingham


P. Hudson

22 Glantawe Park Estate, Wind Road, Ystradgynlais, Wales


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

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

Address unknown

413 L

R. Kitchen

Overcombe, Horrabridge, Yelverton, Devon


J.M. Knops

5 Kingsfield, Kingsway, Bath


D. Knowles

35 North Road, Watleys End, Winterbourne, Bristol

667 L

Tim Large

4 Albion Terrace, Upper Bristol Road, Bath


Peter Leigh

17 Northampton Road, Ecton, Northampton


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.


D. McFarlane

24 Greenbank Gardens, Wallington, Fareham, Hants.

550 L

R A MacGregor

12 Douro Close, Baughurst, Basingstoke, Hants


J. Manchip

c/o/ Eticon Ltd., Bankhead Avenue, Sighthill, 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

121 Wyndhams Court, Commercial Road, Southampton


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 John Wesley Road, St. George, Bristol 3

396 L

Mike Palmer

27 Roman Way, Paulton, Nr. Bristol


J. Pearce

22 Tiverton Drive, New Eltham London, SE9


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

c/o Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds


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

c/o The Belfry

343 L

A Rich

Box 126, Basham, Alberta Canada

672 L

R Richards

PO Box 141, Jacobs, Natal, South Africa


J. Rigler

239 Highlands Road, Catisfield, Fareham, Hants.


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 Yeaomans Close, Stoke Bishop, Bristol


C. Sage

17 Westbourne Road, Downend, Bristol

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, Essex

237 L

B. Scott

Merrymead, Havestock Road, Winchester Hants


Dave Searle

Dolphin Cottage, The Beeches, Priddy, Wells, Somerset


Kathy Searle

Dolphin Cottage, The Beeches, Priddy, Wells, Somerset


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

102 Sydney Place, Bath


N.K. 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

38 Paulton Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


Richard Stevenson

554 Bifield Road, Stockwood, Bristol


D. Stuckey

147 Blaisdon, Yate, Bristol


P. Sutton

75 Bredon, Yate, Bristol


J.G. Talbot

52 Galley Lane, Barnet, Herts.


Derek Targett

16 Phillis Hill, Midsomer Norton


M.D. Taylor

15 Kennington Avenue, Bishopston, Bristol


Nigel Taylor

Whiddon Farm, Chilcote, Nr. Wells, Somerset

284 L

Allan Thomas

Allens House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Somerset

348 L

D Thomas

Mantons, 2 St. Pauls Road, Tupsley, 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

36 Norton Road, Knowle, Bristol


Sue Tucker

36 Norton Road, Knowle, Bristol


Dave Turner

Moonrakers, Brewery Lane, Holcombe, Bath


John Turner

Orchard Cottage, 92 Church lane, Backwell, Avon


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

82 Eastland Road, Yeovil, Somerset


Mrs Upsall

82 Eastland Road, Yeovil, Somerset

175 L

Mrs D. Waddon

32 Laxton Close, Taunton, Somerset


Eddie Welch

18 Station Road, Filton, Bristol


Mike Wheadon

91 The Oval, Bath


C.D. Wheeler

13 Greywell Avenue, Aldermoor, Southampton


Bob White

Mineries Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset


Barry Wilton

27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol


Brenda Wilton

27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Bristol


Graham Wilton-Jones

17 Monkham’s Drive, Watton, Thetford


Ian Wilton-Jones

17 Monkham’s Drive, Watton, Thetford


P. Wilkins

55 Eighth Avenue, Northville, Bristol


Alan Williams

Hendrew Farm, Llanderaied, Newport, Mon.


C.K. Williams

Whitestown Farm, Cheddar Cross Roads, Compton Martin, Bristol


R.F. Wing

Penzance Gardens, Harold Hill, Romford, Essex


The above addresses are those on the card index from which the B.B. is sent out.  If any member notices any discrepancy in the address shown with his real address, he is advised to get in touch with the Hon. Sec. (later, the Membership Sec. when appointed) so that there is no chance of his B.B. or other club papers, going astray.

Committee Notice

The Committee are looking for a member to act as a Membership Secretary.  This has previously been mentioned in the B.B. and the committee are anxious to fill this post before the 31st January, when subs for 1975 are due.  Anybody interested should write to the Hon. Sec. or get in touch with any committee member.

Situations vacant:

Bob Cross is looking for business partner (female and single) to help him run a campsite and shop in Wasdale in the lakes during the spring and summer of 1975. Accommodation will be in a caravan, and profits will be split 50/50.  Bob says there will be ample time for walking, climbing and boozing.  Any girl interested in this opportunity should contact Bob for further details.  His address is: Bob Cross, 120 Pearson Lane, Bradford, BD4 6BF.


Members are reminded to fill in the caving log after each trip, and to sign tackle in an out properly AND to put tackle away in a clean and tidy condition after use.


Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany

Compiled by 'Wig'

133.  THRUPE LANE.  A permanent entrance is being dug, and to cover the cost of bang and materials, a charge of 10p a head is being made.  Please pay this - Tim Large will have details.  Nearby the main entrance, another site is being dug, and at the moment the diggers are a little puzzled as to which point of the Thrupe system they may be about to enter.

134.  WESLEY RIFT.  At the rear of Wesley Cottage, a J.C.B. opened up the top of a narrow, though caveable, rift.  On Sunday, 10th November 1974 Martin Bishop and Dave Irwin dug away the boulders blocking the entrance.  Though unable to enter due to a large boulder still blocking access, they were able to view down a ten foot deep rift with a way on to the West.  The next day, Martin Bishop and Ray Mansfield continued to dig with Ian Cavender (Martin Cavender's brother.)  The cave (rift?) is situated in dolomitic conglomerate overlying the coal measures and according to Willie Stanton the shales are causing the conglomerate to fracture - a similar situation to Sally's Rift near Bathhampton.

135.  NEWS  FROM AFRICA.  Since my query about Sybil (see 130) a letter has been received from 'Pope' (Colin Priddle) who made a detour from Nairobi with his wife to call in and see Sybil. He writes, 'We were the first visitors for five years and she was thrilled.  She is surviving there amidst the malaria, leprosy and food shortages, but I hope for sanity's sake she comes back to the U.K. soon.  It really is a struggle to get European food at a reasonable price - if it can be bought at all.  She is living on matoki (cooked green bananas) and there is only one other white person near'. We must hope that she manages to get back to Mendip soon.

136.  AND NEWS FROM SWEDEN.  As many of you know, George Honey lives permanently in Sweden, and has been ill for some years now. However, this does not seem to have stopped this enterprising member of the B.E.C., as he writes, 'I have now almost completed a replica of the old Belfry, which stands in the forest behind our house.  This is open to any club member and/or family who wishes to visit the area.  We live about 30 miles north of Stockholm (10 miles from the airport of Arlanda).  Unfortunately the nearest cave is nearly a thousand miles away but other activities (swimming, sailing, getting lost in the forest etc.) are available.  Anybody who feels like a holiday in Sweden please write to George Honey, Droppsta, 195 00 Marsta, Sweden.'  What about that for an offer? (and staying in a genuine replica Belfry as well! Incidentally, his wife, Britta, endorses this offer of George's and says that it makes no difference whether the members are known to the Honey's or not.  She has also kindly sent the club a donation of £10 for which we record our grateful thanks and hope that George keeps as well as possible.

137.  SUB-COMMMITTEE FORMED.  At the request of the A.G.M., a sub-committee comprising Martin Cavender, Bob White, Andy Nichols, Alfie and the Wig will look into the problems of insurance with particular reference to the caving and climbing trips which are not advertised within the club.  This committee will report its finding about mid 1975.

138.  ADDITIONS TO THE LIBRARY.  There has been little space lately for this feature, but the following will give some idea of what has been recently received by the club:-

Various O.S. maps.

Rock Face by Ron James (BBC publication) Bristol Regional Geology (H.M.S.O.)

Gloucester S.S. newsletters, Mar ,Apr, May, Sept 1974.

W.S.G. Bulletin Vol 8 No 2.

R.R.C.P.C. Newsletter Volume 11 number 3

Speleologica Emiliana - Notiziario Series 2,No 3

Die Hohle Vol 25 nos 1 and 2.

Cotham S.S, Memoirs Vol 4 1968/9

M.C.G. Journal No 5 1974

M.C.G. Newsletter number 108

Caving Supplies - latest price list. History of G.G. and Ingleborough Cave.

University of Oviedo - Speleon - Vol 2/4, Vo13/3 and Vol 4/2

Cerberus Spelaeo. Soc. Newsletter No 37

C.R.G. transactions Vol 15 No 4 and index 1972-73.

B.R.C.A. Bulletin No 5 and Trans. Vol 1 No 3.

Daily Telegraph Magazine - Changabang.


Current Titles in Spelaeology 1973.International Pt 2

St. Cuthbert’s Lead Works-Bought Out Ledger 1907/8.

Various U.I.S. Bulletins.

Dorset C.C. Journal Vol 3 No 1.

W.C.C. Journal No 154.

Our thanks to Phil Kingston, Chris Howell and Pete Palfrey for donations of maps, publications etc.

Caving and Climbing Programme.

DECEMBER 14th            Dan-yr-Ogof.

DECEMBER 15th            Pant Mawr.

JANUARY 17/19              Climbing in North Wales.

JANUARY 18th               Juniper.

JANUARY 19th               Heron and Yordas.

JANUARY 24/26              Joint meet at Derbyshire. (Climbing)

FEBRUARY 22/23           Climbing in North Wales.

FEBRUARY 22nd            Grants-Oxlow.

FEBRUARY 23rd             P8 and Show Caves.

MARCH 28th                   Sleets Gill.

MARCH 29th                   Pippikin.

MARCH 30th                   Lancaster-Easegill.

Additional Notes - Climbing.

There will also be a climbing trip arranged for the Christmas Weekend.  Throughout the winter months, trips will be arranged at short notice in addition to those above - depending on the availability of snow. Notice of these will be given at the 'Seven Stars' and the Hunters by word of mouth.  Notices will also be displayed at the Belfry.

Additional Notes - Caving.

On trips, particularly to Yorkshire, where much tackle is taken, the tackle counts as one person when working out the cost of transport.  The Caving Secretary would like to inform members that response to ‘away’ trips so far has been very poor and unless members are prepared to support such trips, it may prove necessary to cancel some of them in the future.


Monthly Crossword – Number 52.


1. Consumed in oblate spheroid. (3)
3. Slide another way to slip in a cave. (5)
7. This lime used once in cave diving. (4)
8. Suffering from exposure? (4)
10. Found at the Belfry or at the barbecue or in tables. (3)
11. Form of soft stal. (4)
12. Healthy resurgence? (4)
13. Local form of assistance found in farm roads. (1,1,1)
14. Half found in loose mineshaft. (4)
16. Mineral sort of rose. (4)
18. Cavers kept this in goon suits. (5)
19. Cave feature useful for overnight trip? (3)


2. Am appropriate part of a cave for this clue. (3)
4. This cave will glow on. (8)
5. Insane arrangement of water contrail. (3)
6. I manacle for one of 16 across on Mendip. (8)
7. Places, perhaps. (3).
9. An appropriate number of these are found in this part of Swildons. (5)
15. Aural receiver use in cave communication? (3)
17. Another receiver the caver finds useful. (3)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword



Club Committee

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

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

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

Officers of the Club

Honorary Secretary                  D.J IRWIN

Honorary Treasurer                  B. WILTON

Caving Secretary                     A. NICHOLLS

Assistant Caving Secretary       T. LARGE

Climbing Secretary                  G. OATEN

Tacklemaster                          G. WILTON-JONES.

Hut Warden                             C. DOOLEY

Belfry Engineer                        J. DUKES

B.B. Editor                              S.J. COLLINS

Publications Editor                   C. HOWELL

B.B. Postal                             BRENDA WILTON

Honorary Librarian                    D. IRWIN

Spares                                    T. LARGE

(Address are omitted in this issue, as all members addresses are shown on pages 113 to 116)