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QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

Southern Council

At the Annual Meeting held on Saturday 31st of May, the secretary, Tim Reynolds, resigned.  Tim has spent quite a few years at this thankless task and it is, perhaps, not sufficiently realised just how much Tim has done to ensure that our views have been put over and, in many cases, acted upon. We all owe Tim a most hearty vote of thanks.

For much of the time he was secretary, Tim battled on alone, but recently there has been a growing awareness of the importance of trying to influence the thinking of caving councils by taking part - a process that the B. B. is doing its best to foster.  At present, the B.E.C. is playing a major part. Not only are three of the four trustees of the Southern Council's company members of our club, but the job of being Tim's successor had been taken on by Dave Irwin while Alfie has been elected to the new position of official chairman of the council.

Committee Posts

Because of his new commitments to the Southern Council which represent a great deal of work, and in line with the precedent set by Tim, Dave Irwin is resigning from his position as Hon. Sec. of the B.E.C. but is staying on the committee.  In accordance with recent practice, the club committee are giving notice that a vacancy exists, and this may be taken as the official announcement.  However, it is hardly possible to run the club without an Hon. Sec. and Mike Wheadon has volunteered to take on the job in the meantime and also to put himself forward as an applicant for the job.  We should, I feel, thank Mike for his public spirit and wish him the best of luck!

Andy Nichols has a new job which takes him away from Mendip and has had to resign as Caving Secretary. This job is now being done by Tim Large. We are, of course, still short of a Climbing Sec.  Any offers?

Yo-Yo

From having plenty of material a month or two ago, we find ourselves in the more usual position of having very little for this edition of the B.B.  I feel that we rely too heavily on a few stalwarts who can be relied on to produce an article on almost anything (or even nothing at a pinch) whenever the need arises.  This month looks as if it will be a mixture of stodge (about caving politics again!) and social news, with very little about caving and climbing.  I am sure that there must be more members who do something occasionally which they can write about.  Why not have the odd go at it, and help the B.B. to have a greater variety of authors and subjects

Car Badges

These are now available again, at the modest price by today's standards, of £1.75 or, as we used to say, thirty five bob.  This bargain offer is for a limited period only, after which they will go up to their proper pride of £2.  How about one for your new Mercedes?

Dinner

The Secretary wishes to announce in plenty of time that the dinner will again be at the Blue School, Wells, as it was last year.  Saturday, 4th October is the day.  More details will follow in later B.B.’s Meanwhile, keep this day free (there is also an A.G.M. of course).  Last year's dinner was voted by many to have been amongst the best ever held.  Don't mss this one!

Tailpiece

It should perhaps; be headed 'Ringpiece'.  The Ed's collection of Hunters songs has now reached the total of 76.  If one includes caving Songs, it comes to over a hundred. Will the publications department dare to publish a B.E.C. Hundred Best Songs?


 

Letters To The Editor

21 Hillcrest,
Knowle Park,
Bristol 4.

Dear Sir,

Living as I do between the Mendip and Cotswold hills and being an ex-caver very interested in geological phenomena, I have often wondered why it is that the Mendips are relatively well-endowed with extensive cave systems, yet the Cotswolds have, as far as I know, no cave systems of any sort.  Both these hill systems are products of folding and each system is comparable one with the other in the intensity of folding. Therefore the jointing and bedding configuration is similar, as may be seen by comparison of the many quarries in Cotswold and Mendip.

The chemical nature of the rocks in each system is the same (around 90% calcium carbonate) and the solubility of Mendip limestone and Cotswold oolite is similar, oolite being slightly more soluble in bulk due to its greater surface area/mass ratio.  The physical nature of the two rocks is rather different.  Mendip rock is hard in almost all of its strata.  Cotswold rock is as hard as Mendip in only about 5% of its total thickness. Elsewhere it may be almost as soft as chalk.  I would be most grateful if, through the pages of your bulletin your readers who are erudite (probably all of them) on this subject could provide suitable explanations.

Yours Sincerely,
Dave Morgan.

Editor's Note:     What about it, blokes?  We should know, but Dave Morgan assures me that he once asked 'Herby' Balch this question and got no satisfactory answer.

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4 Galmington Lane,
Taunton
, Somerset.

Dear Alfie,

I seem and hear, frequent complaints based on the theme 'they don't know the words'.  I suggest that it is unfair of the more senior members of the club to make such statements when 'they' haven't had a chance to learn.  In the days when a sing-song at the Hunters was a regular occurrence, we all had the opportunity forced on us. Nowadays, too many non-cavers use this hostelry to make it either wise or opportune to consider using the Hunters for sing-songs. I believe it is time that we who 'know the words' or might be expected to, got together and fixed some firm dates for singing lessons.  I suggest the Belfry from 11 p.m. to midnight and later if nobody objects

"Sett "

Any comments from would be singers or noise abatement societies?

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120 Pearson Lane,
Bradford, Yorks.

Dear Alfie,

Please, please publish this letter to the editor the next issue of the B.B.

I note with great interest the comments of Alfie in the April/May issue of the Belfry Bulletin regarding the present vacancy in the committee for a Climbing Secretary.

I have for a long time thought that the existence a club officer entitled 'Climbing Secretary' in this club is anomalous, considering that only a small proportion of B. E. C. members are, in fact, climbers.

Climbing as a pure sport goes on happily outside of clubs and societies such as our own.  It is a competitive sport totally dominated by individualists who seem to feel no desire or real need of clubs and I do not think that Kangy King himself will disagree with this statement.  I think that, as needs change within our club, we now need a Mountaineering Secretary - albeit climber, fell walker or both, but basically someone who identifies and keeps in touch with all the members of the club who want to participate in the objects of Clause 2(c) of the present club constitution.

I find it very perplexing that there is so much over lapping of Mountaineering activities by the Climbing section and 'the rest' of the club, particularly of that of away meets, and I suspect that the reasons are largely political.  I feel strongly that the enjoyment of a more significant body of members would be furthered if we simply altered the title of one officer and, more to the point, the expressiveness of his role.

The rare bods who have ascended to the dizzy heights of Climbing Secretary have for too long represented a minority electorate at the expense of an unrepresented and growing band of all-round mountaineers and in so doing have prolonged the existence of a hallowed cult, so obviously out of proportion to the size and nature of the club.

In conclusion, I hope and indeed ask that consideration will be given to the views of the writer and that correspondence takes place within these pages, and if needs be, the matter is discussed at the forthcoming A.G.M. - oh, and please remember to hail "Below!" before you dislodge any little stones on top of me from your towering stances.

Without Prejudice,
Cheers,
Bob Cross.

Editor's Note:     One hopes that Climbers, fell walkers, mountaineers and all these fascinating sub-divisions of the sport or pastime will come forward to put their points of view in the B.B.  I, for one, had no idea how distinct all these people were, having the rather naive view that our Climbing Section did all these things - and even went caving on occasion.  Perhaps someone like Kangy might prevailed upon to put us straight on this subject?

Friday Night Club

These meets are organised by Richard Kenney, and further details may be obtained from him at 'Yennek', St. Mary's Road, Meare, Glastonbury, Somerset.  His telephone number is Meare Heath 296.

All meets are at 7.30 p.m. at the site named except those in Wales, for which Richard should be contacted.

June 27th                      Longwood.

July 12th                       Wales.

July 25th                       Thrupe.

August 8th                    Swildons.

August 22nd                  Stoke Lane.

September 5th.              Cuthbert’s.

September 20th             Wales.

October 3rd                   Hilliers/Shatter.

October 17th                 G.B.

October 31st                 Pinetree Pot.


 

Mik’s Peregrinations

Owing to certain supply problems, strangely enough having nothing to do with the absence of up-to-date lists of members of lack of B.B. covers, I have just taken the opportunity of reading a past article and was not very impressed.  I think that I demonstrate a certain amount of nerve in inflicting another load of rubbish on you, but 'yer tis' for April/May.

The first item on my list is to congratulate the gallant band of Belfry regulars who have worked so hard in re-vamping the Belfry.  Being nowadays no longer a regular visitor to the Shed, I think that the club has again done extremely well in convincing those who use the facilities most to do the work.  As you know - or if you don't I'll tell you - the Women’s Dormitory has been resited to where the Changing Room used to be; their shower has also been resited and there are now two fully operational water closets within the confines of the Belfry.  The Changing Area and Showers have been combined and both the Living Room and the Men’s Dormitory modified.  Lockers have also been constructed.  Workers were mainly Butch; John D & W; Graham; Colin; Chris; Keith; Martin and, of course, Angie.

Whilst I'm chatting about modifications, it occurs to me that those who no longer manage to get to Mendip very often will have no notion of the further modifications to the Hunters. This is being undertaken by Roger (with local assistance) and consists of his 'gutting' the remaining outbuildings and barns attached to the south side of the pub.  This will provide him with increased living accommodation on the upper level and a reasonably large room at ground level capable of catering for larger parties - could it be that Roger has the smaller club dinners in mind? Being rather concerned for my alternate home and any threat of my losing ground, I elicited from Roger a firm promise that there is always plenty of room for cavers - so not to worry.

With this first mention of caving comes the first serious matter.  I have been hearing dark mutterings after hours about a body known as NCA.  It always seems slightly ridiculous to me that we produce these bodies, which immediately form committees and pontificate on many matters on which they are really no more expert than the rest of us (other than myself, I mean.)  This time it seems that tackle is the question and with it comes the warning that we should all be aware of the inherent dangers in setting up any authority which could establish tenets not necessarily appropriate for all occasions.

BEC tackle has recently become an item of note.  Firstly, because only a short while ago there were some complaints that we had none, and now a report that the matter has dramatically improved.  Ladders have been manufactured using our own Tellurit press and, as comfort for the sceptics, samples have been taken and satisfactorily tested at Bristol Wire Ropes.  Just one small (?) complaint from Graham.  Some members (and non-members) are treating tackle with less care than it deserves.  Normally, I wouldn’t mind too much, but it might be my life - not yours so take Graham's tip and take care of tackle.

Having gone mad and exercised my prejudices last month, I have to report that yet again SRT is in the news.  This time, it is the arrival within the club of a batch of the long awaited Gibb Rope Walkers.  I understand that the Pyrenees expedition will be using these if their trip through PSM takes place as planned this summer.

Finally, although this month it seems that I could add more, I must mention one or two snippets of gossip: Butch is off to Kenya for a spell towards the end of July and Andy Nichols, who is clearly more intrepid, is removing his soliciting and residence to Yorkshire (where the real caves are!)  I know it will be over by the time you read it, but Bishop is having a party in costume at the end of May.  Even more finally, talking to Patti Palmer who was away sans husband for a skiing holiday said that she was disappointed because she had really just learned how to stop when she had to return!

(Owing to the two month's coverage in the last B. B., we feel obliged to print a postscript from 'Mik' which you will find immediately following.  Editor.)


 

Peregrination Postcript

Having issued a double B.B., our editor has once again stolen the summer to go on holiday (that's the second consecutive year he's done that) and left me with the not-to-be-missed opportunity to add a postscript to my wanderings and bring the scene up to date.

On the Sunday of the Bank Holiday, the Bishops fancy dress party took place.  This party, which nobody appeared to be formally invited to, was rather surprisingly well attended and at an early hour a huge number of well disguised bods turned up at the Hunters, to the delight of the weegees for a pre-party pint or three.  Obviously to mention all present would read like pages from Debrett, but I must note that the Bishop was a bishop whilst Liz, until she flaked, was Andy Pandy. Many present were in hired costumes. Butch and Barrie (until Butch, who had recently been vaccinated, retired to bed) as front and rear parts of a pantomime horse.  Historically speaking there were Richard and Barbara Stevenson - Medieval; Dick and Anne West - Tudor; Bob Scammel and Anne - Quaker and Mike and Maureen Wheadon - Georgian.  There were many others bright enough to manufacture their own costumes.  Sid Hobbs was, need I say, a Viking, Mac McAnnus and Ken James in drag, Phil Hendy as the Wessex resident amateur brain surgeon, Ian Jepson as Perseus with an extremely lifelike Gorgon’s head, Brenda Wilton as Minnie Mouse and Angie, who worked on almost all the BEC’s costumes, as a second row forward.  An extremely good and liquid time was had by all.

The Bishop party also, as it happens, turned out to be an excellent prelude to Priddy Sports Day, when again the BEC turned out in some force (no sign of bicycles though) and, I am pleased to say, Butch was sufficiently recovered to get himself 'into a state' again at the Hunters before travelling to the New Inn where he gave a superb demonstration of how to photograph aircraft passing overhead whilst falling flat on his back.  The BEC Priddy residents were well to the fore, with Liz Bishop now recovered and the Hobbs' and the Searle family on parade.  The Thomases arrived late though Hilary did not (I'm told) win any events.  John (Jonjon) Hildick caught the envious eye of Barrie because he displayed on his coat lapel a number of badges advertising him as committee member and treasurer.  Barrie is now convinced that he should now have a Treasurer's Badge.  Before leaving the sports day subject, I must mention just one jarring note.  It seems that some partygoers in their exuberance chose to let down the sports day marquee - not on your own doorstep, please, chaps!

The pre-Pyrenean activities continue to provide some fodder for this article.  The latest addition to the equipment for the trip is a rather superb modern style goon suit which has a waterproof zip instead of the old neck or chest seal.  Anyway, two or three weekends ago saw a small party of new proud owners adorning themselves in these suits on the bank of the mineries ready for a splash about.  This, needless to say, provided much amusement for the various weegees who seem to congregate at the mineries these days. All I hope now is that I shall be able to report at a future date that this new apparel was successful in assisting the intrepid B.E.C. party to get through the P.S.M.

Insurance Sub-Committee

Set up at the request of the last A.G.M. to look into various knotty problems concerning the state of insurance and associated legal aspects, this sub-committee, aided by various outside experts, have produced their findings.  Since there is no need for the entire report to be circulated, a summary will be included in next months B.B.


 

Deserts and their Survival Problems

Since we have had enough fine, and sometimes hot weather lately to form the makings of a decent summer for once, the next article, on survival under desert conditions, may be rather more appropriate than usual. In fact, it comprises some useful hints and tips about dealing with conditions in arid regions, based on 'Wig's experiences in the states a few years ago, and could be of interest to any club members who might be thinking of going looking for caves in these types of region.

A few years ago in California, I had a narrow squeak in Death Valley - the hottest place in the Western world, which could easily have cost me my life.  Early in March 1971, I decided to take a weekend trip to this notorious place, some four hundred miles North-west of Los Angeles.  Taking the Baker - Las Vegas road, once you have crossed the Bernadino mountain range to the East of Los Angeles, you enter desert country which, in the winter and early spring months, is one of the more pleasant areas of California. This desert zone - the Mojave Desert (which is pronounced Mo-ha-vay) and known locally as the High Desert (it lies between 6,000 and 8,000 feet above Sea Level) includes a tremendous variety of scenery from the Joshua tree zone to a variety of mountain ranges towering up to 10,000 feet that lie to the east of the massive Sierra Nevada range, whose peaks reach 14,000 feet.  Many semi-active volcanoes dot the landscape.  Usually these are not large and peak at about a thousand feet.  The volcanoes need no description except that where one spots a mound of greyish-black material, you can be pretty certain that it is best to give it a wide berth!

However, the 15 freeway crosses the Mojave and at Baker, a two lane road heads north towards Death Valley.  The weather was typical for the season, a cool 80OF, a bright blue cloudless sky. The terrain gradually changed after leaving the freeway to a variety of coloured mountain ridges reminding one that this was not an area to be toyed with.  The mountains displayed angular pointed shapes and were coloured with a fantastic range of reds, pinks, greys, white and green with the lower scree slopes covered with the desert patina of blackish-grey.  The valley floors were liberally covered with salt flats stretching for miles at a time, the vegetation being the usual tumbleweed and scrub.

In time, the last township of Shoshone is reached and the road led the way to Salisberry Pass.  (Note: both the author and the editor would like to assure readers that this is the correct spelling for this particular pass!)   This is the Southern gateway to Death Valley.  The central settlement in the valley, Furnace Creek, lay some 120 miles to the north.  It was soon after this point that I noticed that the petrol gauge was looking pretty sick and this sudden realisation of trouble caused an immediate lack of interest in the wonderful scenery!  Here I was, with a nearly empty petrol tank and a car that rarely did better than 18 mpg.  The temperature was by now about 115 in the shade (with an air temperature of about 120 and a ground temperature somewhere in the order of 130). The only water in the area lay under the salt crystals and was therefore undrinkable.  Anyway, having leaned on the car bonnet and got burned in the process, I headed straight away for Furnace Creek Ranch - the nearest filling station.

The petrol gauge gradually dropped lower and lower and I began to sweat and became tense.  The road was fairly straight, taking a route along the edge of the valley floor, about 280 feet below sea level and passing Dante's View; Bad Water and Funeral Point!  Furnace Creek finally came into view and, with a sigh of relief, so did the filling station.  I pulled up by the pumps and was served by a smiling Chinese attendant who pointed out that the hose was not long enough to reach the filler and asked me to pull the car up a bit.  I tried to start the car but it wouldn't.  I had finally run out of petrol.  Putting it into neutral, we pushed the car the last foot or so and within minutes, the Torino had its twenty gallon tank full of petrol. As I drove out of the filling station, the chinaman called out "Have a nice day!"

This little incident taught me a lesson that was later to be invaluable when I spent many weekends down south in the Anza Borrego desert near the Mexican border.

Deserts are rarely great rolling sand dunes as we tend to picture them, but a very harsh, broken terrain. The sides of the mountains and floors of the valleys are a mixture of blistered and shattered rock, with little vegetation and very little water.  This absence of water can be very misleading.  In the Western deserts of the U.S.A. up to a few inches of rain falls in the months of November and December and often this annual total will fall within a space of a few hours with devastating results.  The sides of the mountains and the valley floors are incised with deep, narrow canyons that can spell the end of any explorer caught in this winter flooding.  The brilliant sunshine at one end of such a canyon can be associated with heavy rainfall at the other end, maybe many miles away, catching the unsuspecting victim without warning.  The water flowing through these canyons will often produce a wall of water many feet deep, and the run off from an entire mountain catchment basin will funnel through a narrow canyon and out on to the valley floor.  Split Mountain Canyon in the Anza Borrega desert is rarely more than fifty feet wide and extends for over twenty five miles.  The sides are precipitous, the walls being of the loose conglomerate associated with the sea deposits of the now receded Gulf of California.  Another canyon in Death Valley, Surprise Canyon, led to Panamint City, a mining settlement.  It took over eighteen years to build a road through this canyon, albeit intermittently and after its completion, the prospectors had time to drive their trucks through it twice before a cloudburst destroyed the entire road - such is the force of desert water.

With cavers venturing further into remote areas in search of cave sites, it is essential the geography of the area is determined beforehand - otherwise one could land up as a lump of bleached gristle!  Men need quantities of water under normal conditions, and considerably more under desert conditions.  The body's way of keeping cool is to sweat.  For example, a man driving a car on a 110O day, may sweat almost one quart an hour, and the only way of replenishing this loss is to drink an equivalent amount.  There is no way by which one can get along on less water by 'training'.

Thirst is a body signal to say 'I need more liquid' and it is the first sign of dehydration.  Should the liquid supply not be given to the body, then body functions will slow down, followed by loss of appetite; fever; sleepiness and finally death.  Sickness occurs when the body has lost the equivalent of 5% of body weight.  A loss of 6 to 10% produces dizziness; breathing problems and tingling in the limbs.  The heart beats harder as the blood begins to thicken and walking becomes impossible. A 15 - 20% dehydration is generally fatal.

Giving the victim water will allow the body to re-hydrate quickly and even if the water is ice cold, the worst that will happen is that there will be temporary stomach cramps. What if there isn't any water, or if it is in very short supply? Some simple rules follow:-

1.                  Keep all clothes on, however much discomfort is experienced.  A man may feel cooler with his shirt off, but this increases the sweat demand.  One cane save over 20% of sweat loss merely by staying clothed.

2.                  Stay in the shade and rest rather than walk.  Lying down reduces the strain on the heart, but NOT on the ground.  Ground temperature can be 30 – 40O higher than air temperature so, if possible, get at least a foot above the ground.  Walk at night, but don’t start until several hours after sunset to ensure the air temperature has dropped sufficiently.

3.                  Eat nothing except perhaps a little chocolate, as the digestion diverts the water that would be available for sweating.  The drinking of alcohol or urine will only increase the dehydration rate.

4.                  Keep clothes moist by the use of any available fluid (booze, urine etc.)  This will help to reduce the evaporation from the body.

5.                  Salt tablets should never be taken unless there is ample water available.

In addition to the problems of dehydration, the temperature in deserts zones fluctuates considerably between midday and midnight.  Towards evening, cool airstreams sweep across the hot surface causing the temperature to fall rapidly and variations of 60OF are not uncommon.  Thus, warm clothing is often necessary at night.  During the day, with the temperature maybe up to 120O (higher than this is courting trouble in a big way) in the shade, everyone must be fully clothed to prevent wind and sunburn.  Large, wide-brimmed hats and neck scarves are essential.

One last but important point.  To keep cool during the day, don’t drink iced beer or anything cold.  Hot tea or similar beverages are best, as they raise the body temperature, thus reducing the differential between the body and the ambient temperature.

It is absolutely essential to examine the local seasonal temperature and general climatic conditions for any hot area one intends to visit.  You are on your own when you get there!


 

Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany, by Wig

181.      Otter Hole: Roy Bennett informs me that the cave length is over 2,500 feet with passages up to 30 feet wide and 80 feet high.

182.      M.R.O. - B.E.C.  Team list: Tim Large is compiling a new list composed of members who are prepared to help during a rescue call-out.  If you want to be included in this list, please cont act Tim.  His address will be found at the front of the B.B. A.G.M. and Annual Dinner: Saturday, October 4th 1975.  A.G.M. to be held at the Belfry at 10.30 a.m. and the dinner at the Blue School, Wells (the same venue as last year.)  Price about £2.25.

183.      Swildons now costs 10p: After a quarter of a century, the Maines have decided to put the good will payment for descending Swildons up to 10p.  If one considers the value of 1/- in 1950 in relation to average earnings, the present 10p is still much cheaper than was the old 'bob'.  The payment should be made at the house next to the field gate as shown below, and PLEASE park your cars on the top green near the village hall.

 

184.      Swildons Again:  I find it quite extraordinary that members have not noted some recent changes in the cave (neither have I seen any mention in other clubs journals.)  Quite apart from the fact that the cave is much drier than usual at this time of the year with no active stream before the twenty, two changes have taken place - possibly due to some severe flooding earlier this year.  The first is that a considerable quantity of pebbles has been washed downstream, leaving the streamway approaching Kenny's Dig about two feet deep and the small potholes in the floor approaching the Well thoroughly scoured.  The larger change has occurred above the Well, where the infill has been removed exposing a ten foot deep rift that interpenetrates the wall of the Well itself, thus providing a possible alternative route. The sketch shown should illustrate the changes clearly.  Editor's Note: To enable readers to compare the 'Before' and 'After' sketches Dave has included, they are both being printed on the next page.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 56

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Across:

1. A pitch still with us, though twice this is no longer! (6)
5. Type of cave passage. (3)
6. and 8. Master calf for this recently dug and abandoned swallet. (6,4)
10. Behold, it sounds deep. (2)
12. Cave dweller, often. (3)
13. Spanish yes, is backwards. (2)
14. May be heard after bang, perhaps. (4)
16. Tweeds otherwise prepared for cavers to eat. (6)
18. Gallery in G.B. (3)                in this! (6)
19. First a bit of cave with two missing directions should not leave you

Down

1. Aids, perhaps. (6)
2. and 15.  Mendip Swallet, otherwise wet satin. (4,4)
3. Not until opposite but shortened. (3)
4. Old cave inhabitants. (5)
7. You can be as drunk as one in an old fashioned way. (3)
9. Short, dry, alternate way. (6)
11. Rarely visited Cuthbert’s rift. (5)
12. Mendip Swallet. (3)
17. Browne’s Hole chamber from Glastonbury? (3)


 

Club Headquarters

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

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

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

Officers Of The Club

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

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

Caving Secretary                A. NICHOLLS, c/o The Belfry

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

Climbing Secretary             Position vacant at present.

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

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

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

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

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

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

Spares                               T. LARGE,  Address already given

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

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

QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

Bi-Monthly At Last?

No, your editor is not breaking faith with the great majority of club members who still vote regularly for a monthly B.B!  In spite of brave promises to produce the full twelve separate issues for this year, a combination of circumstances has finally made it prudent to catch up by telescoping the April and May issues together in this slightly enlarged number of the B.B.

The basic reason is quite simple.  In these days of high inflation rates, we can either say, "To hell with it" and keep pushing the subs up to meet ever rising costs, or try to keep the subs reasonable and use our ingenuity to make our money go further and further.  On the whole, the committee incline to the latter idea, as being more in the B.E.C. tradition of doing things.  For example, at current rates, the B.B. should cost about £160 to produce for this year (NOT including postage but we are managing to do it for just over £30.  This means that we rely increasingly on members who can provide materials and services for us, BUT it also means that we have to wait on occasion until such things become available.  This has tended to increase the natural delays associated with the B.B. - hence the present state of affairs.  Hopefully, we will grow more cunning and not have to do it again.

Club Finances

The Hon. Sec. and Hon. Treasurer have recently reviewed the financial state of the club.  This was done so that, if there was a need to increase the annual subs, matters could be put in front of members in plenty of time for discussion.  Their report will be published in the B.B. shortly, but meanwhile their recommendation is that subs should NOT be increased for the next club year.  The argument is briefly that we can continue to pay our way for one more year at the present rate, although this will leave the club with very little money 'put by' for a rainy day.  However, since money loses in real value even if invested, there is no point in saving it and this asking members to pay more so that their money can be put away to lose in purchasing power.

Belfry Alterations

Following an urgent need to improve the toilets at the Belfry, plans were produced and modified by getting as many people's opinions as could be done in the short time available. The result can now be seen at the Belfry and consists of moving the girls' bedroom to where the changing room was; making a passage from there to the living room, with toilets etc. leading off it; making a new changing room and slightly enlarging the men’s bed room. The whole scheme has cost remarkably little and has been got on with very smartly - thanks mainly to John Dukes and 'Butch'.  The general opinion is that this will constitute a great improvement to the Belfry.

Half Time

Our Hon. Sec., writing in 'Round and About' this month(s?) reviews progress made by this years' club committee at its mid-point in the club year.  Having seen nearly all the club committees in action since 1953, I would like to go on record by stating, as a personal opinion, that this present committee is one of the most effective we have ever had over this long period of time. If we can keep going with committees of this calibre, we will have little to worry about as a club.

Bridge That Gap

Once again, we have at least one item in this B.B. on the caving political scene.  In this connection, I recently had the experience of attending a meeting of the executive of the National Caving Association at Stafford in the capacity of an uninvited observer. The meeting I attended might not, of' course, have been a fair sample of what their meetings are usually like. Even so, one thing which struck me was the degree of quite fundamental difference of opinion as to what the N.C.A. ought to be doing.  Some of those present were very much in favour of the N.C.A. doing more and talking less, which sounds fine on the face of things.

Others, however, pointed out that rushing into things without considering all the possible effects was bound to do more harm than good, especially since there were few things on which all round the table agreed about. This fact is very plain if you read what has been written and then attend the odd meeting as I have done. For instance, there has been a lot of talk at N.C.A. level about the need for money to run the N.C.A. and to do all that it wants to do.  On the other hand, when the delegates to the last meeting of the Southern Council were asked to suggest what the N.C.A. could conceivably WANT any money for, nobody - I repeat, NOBODY, was able to advance a single reason.

This does not mean that the N.C.A. is necessarily wrong, but it DOES mean that the Southern Council, for one, do not understand what the N.C.A. is on about.  The urgent need is for more and greater contact; for more communication for greater understanding.  This MUST occur unless we all want to see a complete stalemate occur. One would imagine that this would be obvious to all.

Present signs, I am sorry to say, are not good.  It is well known that informal discussion over beer - or even coffee - can often achieve more that many hours of formal meeting.  This was completely absent on this occasion.  So much for greater understanding. Communication, as Tim Reynolds pointed out, unfortunately means more paper, but is essential at this stage of the game.  The meeting came out generally in favour of less.  So much for communication.  As far as contact is concerned, as an example, I left the brilliant sunshine of Mendip that day to spend it amongst the hazy weather of Stafford, which at least showed willing.  Regrettably, the N.C.A. Secretary said that, if she happened to be on Mendip when a Southern Council meeting was taking place, and if she didn't happen to be going caving, then she would come to it but she said that it was no part of her job, as she saw it, to make a definite point in attending.  One is tempted to agree with the N.C.A. Chairman, Dick Glover, when he said at the meeting that he saw little future for the N.C.A. under the present circumstances.

Climbing Secretary

Following the recent resignation of Gerry Oaten as Climbing Secretary, the Committee are formally asking for any volunteers for this position, and this item should be taken as the notice to that effect.  For many years now, the climbing section, although small in number, have enriched the club out of all proportion to their size, and it would, I feel, be a very great pity if the position had to go into abeyance by default.  How about it, you climbers?

Club Ties

Unhappily, the enquires about getting new stocks of club ties, coupled perhaps with a choice of colours, is not going too well.  We cannot find a supplier who will produce a woven tie in quantities less than 200 (we used to be able to order 3 dozen at a time).  Since club ties sell slowly, this would be far too much money tied (note clever pun) up.  Suggestions for a cheaper, printed tie (like the W++++x) or for a tie with a single motif have been made.  If you have any suggestions, please get in touch with Barrie or any committee member. Otherwise, the B.E.C. tie will have to be discontinued until times get better.  Just think - your tie could become a valuable antique!

Then Let Some Bold Caving Lad ...

Following Kangy's poem about the old Hunters singsongs, I sat down the other day to see how many titles of what used to be known as 'Hunters Filth' I could still recall.  I now have a list of 70 titles, which is available to anyone collecting such items!

B.B.'s By Air

To send a single B.B. by airmail now costs 7/- and the Postal Department now say that, unless any member is prepared to pay individually, they will have to send them by surface mail in future.

“Alfie”


 

A Potted Account of the National Caving Association A.G.M. held at Wells on 3rd November, 1974

'Wig' writes, 'The report of this meeting is obviously heavily cut and some sections have had to be omitted, but I hope that the major and some politically explosive items have been covered.'

(A full set of the minutes, and minutes of any other region that we, as a club, are involved with, are available for inspection in the club library at the Belfry.)

After the usual preambles, the 'matters arising' dealt with the non-arrival of both the Hon. Sec's and the Hon. Treasurer's reports.  This had meant that 'the various Regional Councils had not been able to discuss the reports prior to the meeting.'  The reason given was due to circumstances beyond the control of the various officers concerned.  Tim Reynolds, on behalf of S.S.C.C. said that the Southern delegates had been instructed to vote against the acceptance of the reports.  He said that, while there had been practical difficulties it was ' a vital part of the N.C.A. constitution that these reports were available prior to the Annual Meeting.'  A general discussion arrived at various 'startling' points including having the dates of the meetings arranged so that the reports would be available on time. Anyway, the matter was passed to the Executive Committee.  Following a point raised by Ben Lyon the Chairman asked the meeting to accept that the Novice Training Special Committee 'Be asked to look into the matter of trying to stop the Department of Education and Science and local education authorities indiscriminately encouraging caving'.  This was agreed.  Following a question by Bob Lewis regarding Whernside Manor, the N.C.A emphasised that N.C.A. recognition was without prejudice to the 'future development of other centres'.

The Chairman's Address then followed.  Dick Glover, the N.C.A. Chairman, stressed that the remarks which were to follow were his own personal view.  This, of course, can be interpreted as being views for discussion.  Mr. Glover first mentioned that the unpaid executive officers were working their hands to the bone.  'No further workload is possible, and in view of the rapid increase in the cost of travel, less is likely to be carried out’.  He continued to say that this, in conjunction with the fact that other professional sports administrators fix meetings in normal working hours, meant that the problem could only be resolved by the appointment of a paid full or part-time officer and that we must think along these lines 'if the role of the N.G.A. is to continue to develop; if we are to make the best use of the finance and facilities available; and if we are to do much more for the caving clubs.'  The Chairman said that a paid official could keep closer contact with the clubs and the official bodies outside the caving sphere as well as doing all the secretarial work.

Turning to Whernside Manor, Mr. Glover said that he hoped it would not have to close down and that he had been invited to join the advisory committee set up by the Scout Association. The work at Whernside had been running at a loss and the required money had been available in the form of grants from the Sports Council via the N.G.A.  This deficit was running at £10,000 - £15,000 per annum and the Scout Association felt unable to continue the subsidy any longer.  Direct grant aid was not likely to be forthcoming from the Sports Council.  If there was no change by mid 1975, the centre would have to close.  Mr. Glover personally found this state of affairs totally unacceptable and said that everything should be done to ensure the continuance of the centre.  He concluded this section of his talk by urging the meeting to instruct the N.G.A. to communicate our 'surprise, shock and dismay' to the Scout Association over their decision, and to offer the aid of N.G.A. to help try and find a way to keep the centre open.

Mr. Glover then turned to finance and said 'that it was very evident that all constituent bodies of the N.G.A. have ideas, plans and schemes for new development which are continually frustrated by lack of funds.'  The Sports Council pay up to 75% in grants providing the N.G.A. find the remainder. He said that, in addition to this, the quarries were an added problem and that we would be faced with at least one rescue operation each year together with its attendant expenses.  In his opinion, Mr. Glover said that each region should set in motion 'as a matter of the highest priority', some project that would ensure an ongoing and increasing source of cash.  One possibility was to purchase and run a show cave in each region and reap the benefit of their profits, thus enabling larger donations to the N.C.A. without digging into caver’s pockets too much. Each region, according to Mr. Glover, should think of ways of raising a sum between £2,000 and £5,000 per annum. He welcomed views on the topics he had raised.

A lengthy discussion then followed and only a few points can be raised here.  Tim Reynolds said that the N.C.A. had come to the parting of the ways. Either it continued on its present budget, or it entered a very different field which would cost very much more money to operate in.  The chairman wanted to keep up with the Jones's by saying that all the other sports had full-time officials.  Mike Hollingworth said that unless the N.C.A. undertook a better P.R.O. exercise, we would not get our point of view over to the public.  John Wilmut thought that the N.C.A. had been thinking in too small a way and should become an organisation of some status.  In particular, conservation will become an expensive part of caving in the 1980's if we have to fight the quarries.  Ted Meek (Cotham C.C.) felt that these comments were of no great interest to cavers. (Good for Ted Meek! - Ed.  Let us hope that the meek will indeed, inherit the earth!). It was pointed out that, in a majority of sports, members had to join an organisation, but in caving this was still not necessary.  However, there was some danger that an organisation might try to take over access control to enforce this.  The chairman replied that there were similar organisations that did not require everyone to join, but organisations had come into existence because of external pressures. Tim Reynolds said that the caving clubs might take 'a jaundiced view' of a full-time assistant at, say, £1,000 per annum if clubs had to find £250 of this as part of the grant agreement. Clubs would leave the regional bodies rather than pay, and if membership of the regional bodies was made compulsory, then there would be more blowing off of locks from cave entrances and chaos would reign.

Jim Hanwell, in reply to Wilmut, said that the C.S.C.C. had good relations with the authorities in the South and had been involved in discussions with them for the last ten years - there was no need for this type of problem having to be handled at national level.  The discussion then turned to the benefits that cavers would receive if the N.C.A. employed a full-time assistant, or not. Mike Hollingworth said that as the general caver had a caving life of about 4 to 5 years, he would take a short term view of the situation and so N.C.A. had to 'get through to the average caver instead of evolving upwards as it appeared to have done to date.'

The N.C.A. were given permission to instruct the trustees to purchase shares in the quarry companies providing that the regions were consulted prior to any action being taken. An amended resolution on tackle testing, underground communications and the setting up of a trade association was passed for a special sub-committee to investigate the problems and report back to the N.C.A. executive.  After some discussion, the meeting agreed unanimously to allow the N.C.A. executive to investigate the question of grant aid for expeditions abroad.

On the question of a national insurance policy, Frank Murphy said that the premium would be about £1 per head and this would cost about £8,000 at national level.

D. J. Irwin.


 

Travels In Africa

Concluding the useful information given last month by Colin Priddle about the African journey he recently made.

I will finish with some brief notes on the various countries that I visited:-

Uganda.  Enter only by road or rail from Nairobi (or by air.)  Otherwise you are a spy.  It is a beautiful country, but is controlled by the army, who are liable to confiscate property at will.  Men must wear long trousers in public and women's skirts must be below the knee. Necklines must not be more than four inches below the neck.  Things are dear and scarce in Uganda.  At present, I would not recommend casual travelling in this country.

Kenya: Things are pretty easy in general but Nairobi, like any other town, has its fair share of 'wide boys'.  Food is pretty cheap and the people are friendly and helpful.

Tanzania: This is rather an unstable and poor country. We had no trouble, but quite a few people we met had found themselves in trouble with the police for no real reason (like the photograph).  Our policy was to go to the local police station when we arrived and ask for the best place to stay and eat.  They must think that no suspicious person would go to a police station, but even so, they check your passport.  Tanzania's relations with other countries are rather poor at present, which may result in border closures.  They are at present moving people from their tribal homes into communes, and there is a lot of unrest.

Zambia: The border with Rhodesia is closed at present, although one can make a detour into Botswana and thus to Rhodesia.

Malawi: Women must wear ankle length skirts.  All traveller's luggage in thoroughly checked and men with long hair must have a good haircut before entry is permitted. Otherwise, Malawi is a reasonable country.  If you need to hire porters, the rate is 12½p a day, so you will know if somebody is trying it on.  Labour is very cheap in all the countries ( Rhodesia is 30p a day) and it is rather pleasant to have somebody to carry your rucsac especially as it is hot most of the time.

Mozambique: Things have settled down recently, but I wouldn't like to speculate as to the future months, especially if you are heading to a white country.

Rhodesia: One requisite for a traveller is £300 for an air ticket to the country of origin.  It is the same in South Africa, but you will find a free country with well stocked shops and no petty officials.  In fact, it is a civilised country with camping sites for travellers in most towns.  Hotels are dearer but hitching is easy.

I hope that in this article, I have fired the enthusiasm for someone to travel to Africa.  Excellent journeys can be made from Egypt, through to Kenya and beyond or through the Sahara into Zaire and then on.  There is an advantage in reaching Rhodesia or South Africa as money is easily earned to enable you to go on or back home by boat.  The most difficult part of the trip is making up your mind to leave your job and friends in England - as a trip through Africa cannot be hurried, and indeed, you would not want to hurry it.

Colin Priddle.


 

Mik's Peregrinations

I had thought of apologising for not maintaining my regular spot of ramblings for the B.B., but when I received my copy for last month with its excellent articles, I decided that you were better off than if I had written - and it gave me an opportunity to have my own prejudices reinforced by Kangy.  Kangy's rhymes set me to thinking of the caving scene over the years and the way that changes occur.

For instance, casting my mind back through the ages to the days of old H.E. Balch, caving was not a very exact science and outfits such as that worn by Fred Davies were derigeur (except that they wore bowlers and used candles casting treacherous shadows as they expanded the nether world of Mendip).  The tackle used amounted to enormous piles of knotted rope on which the explorers plumbed the depths and boldly went where no man had gone before (my apologies to Star Trek).

The next generation of cavers were much more sophisticated, using carbide lamps to light their way tackling pitches with rope and wood ladders.  These were still bulky and had a great deal of give when weight was placed on them. Indeed, having tied yourself on to a lifeline, using a bowline; granny knot or noose, you stepped off on to the ladder only to find yourself bouncing up and down like a yo-yo and being cut in two the lifeline tightened.

Later again, the weekend wire pullers were able to take things much more easily.  Lightweight wire and elektron ladders had been invented and at one fell swoop the new caver found himself unencumbered and able to extend his exploration with ease.  Several other innovations arose at this time, such as electric lighting sets and 'goon' suits.  By now, of course, the clubs were loaded down with tackle (yes, even the B.E.C.) and new exploration flourished, especially when the ultra light weight tackle arrived on the scene and we were told authoritatively that all caves were located under ground.  With this tackle, and such information, the tigers could not be held back and Saturday nights in the Hunters barrang to voices raised in praise of techniques and of achievements.  This almost reached the stage when caving talk had to be banned so that serious drinking was not hazarded.

You may well be wondering where all this is taking me.  Answer: full circle.  Most of the discussion nowadays in the Hunters is again about rope, but this time without knots.  You've known for years that our climbing chaps could abseil gaily through the air, but in caving there used to be one problem - how do you get back up again? The answer is S.R.T. (Single Rope Techniques.)  Back to the times of H.E., but with a difference.  The modern tiger kitted out with wet suits, electrics, rope, clogs, Whillans Harnesses and the like is now able to stroll fairly easily through the stygian depths carrying out what used to be super severe trips with consummate ease.

It is this very ease which is the undoing of the Mendip musician.  There is now no need to drag yourself wearily to the Hunters to soak aching limbs (from carrying heavy tackle) in beer and sing a few melodies to lift flagging spirits.  As a result, they 'orrible words are falling into disuse and may soon vanish completely from Mendip unless we can persuade Kangy and others to come along and resuscitate them.  Being something of a traditionalist, I am sorry to record this scene and am pleased when times such as a few weeks ago occur when Maurice Iles managed to get a reasonable song session going.

Anyway, turning my thoughts to local events and the social whirl, it strikes me that it's time I got off the soapbox and mentioned such matters as the St. David's Day/Steven's Birthday Barrel which saw the initiation of the new Belfry Boy, which took place amid the restructuring of the Belfry.  Unfortunately, very late in the celebrations, a halt had to be called when Patti Palmer got stepped on.  This put a damper on events and gave Patti a large bruise which she said was spectacularly colourful but refused to exhibit it owing to its location.  There was another barrel when Malcolm Jarrett, Keith Newbury and Chris Batstone celebrated their birthdays - another merry time I am pleased to report.

There has been much movement of persons recently.  One section of the B.E.C. went to Derbyshire (to a pub) and another went to Ireland (to a bar?)  The Thomas's have an addition to their family, Timothy Asleigh (or is it Ashley?).  I don't know if he is a member yet.

Talking of going full circle, another sign of the times is that Mike Palmer has taken to travelling up to the Hunters by pushbike.  Unfortunately, as Barrie pointed out, this severely restricts the amount of beer time available but as Alfie was heard to remark, this not only saves him petrol but beer as well. This intrepid pioneer has now been joined by Andy Nichols, who has a bike with the words 'Andrew Nichols B.E.C.' on the cross bar.  Can this be the start of a cycling craze?  With Priddy Village Sports day close upon us, perhaps the B.E.C. will sweep the board in cycling events!  Hilary Thomas was heard to say that she was thinking of entering the mother’s race, but was worried in case young Timothy found that he was getting butter for tea instead of milk!

Let me leave you with this thought.  I'm told that Sylvia Hobbs was heard to say that her cuckoo clock doesn't say cuckoo ... is anyone surprised?


 

Paul Esser Memorial Lecture

An account of the 1975 Paul Esser Memorial Lecture sent to us by Oliver Lloyd.

The 1975 lecture was given in the University of Bristol on the 19th of February by Mr. Donald Robertson to a crowd of some 500 people, filling the Physics Lecture Theatre to overflowing.  It provided a wonderful sense of occasion and was a fitting tribute to Paul Esser.

In June 1972, Mr. Robertson's schooner was holed and sunk by a killer whale in the Pacific, so that he and his party had to survive the next six weeks as best they could before being picked up.  He told us once again most of the salient features of the story, which he published in 1973 under the title "Survive the Savage Sea", but since then he has been studying the whole problem and has recently published his conclusions in a new book called "Sea Survival".

He maintains that far fewer people would die if they knew what to do or how to behave when shipwrecked.

Insufficient attention is given to the technique of launching lifeboats or survival rafts or of men protecting themselves against the cold, as was shown in a recent disaster off the coast of Cornwall. The information in official survival manuals is inadequate or misleading.  As an example of this, he quoted his experience of trying to attract the attention of passing ships.  They generally take no notice because they do not keep an adequate watch.  Even if they do see your boat, they generally take no notice because they assume that the occupants, if any, must be dead by now.

The shipwrecked mariner must become self sufficient and must try to make some land all on his own. But the official books say that you should always assume that you will be picked up.  Similarly with regard to food and water.  Emergency stores are very useful but may only last two or three weeks out of the many that you nay have to spend on the ocean.  The important things to have on board are multi-purpose tools that can be used for fishing or replenishing water supplies from rain.  Mr. Robertson's team achieved a sort of equilibrium with their surroundings by becoming self sufficient.  And yet it was almost a question of luck that they had with them their two most important items of equipment; a kitchen knife and a Genoa sail.

Water supplies were usually inadequate and they suffered from dehydration, yet they found that a turtle may contain four pints of blood, which is good to drink.  Sea water, of course, is fatal.  Dehydration has the unexpected effect of making it almost impossible to stand or walk when reaching shore or a rescue boat.  Although rainfall was welcome for the drinking water it provided, it was also rather a problem.  Even though they were in the tropics, the rain temperature was only 55OF. You have to keep still and let it run off you; otherwise you increase your cooling rate and suffer from hypothermia. Also, it tends to sink the craft so that the crew, under cover of the sill, have to keep bailing it out.

Landing a raft in a surf can be very difficult.  Many of this questions asked related to "what did you do?"  The main answer was that keeping alive keeps you busy.


 

North Wales Again

Another climbing tale by that old stalwart,

Kangy King

Like diving into a swimming pool.  "Can I still swim after all this time?" - "Can I still climb?" Was my unvoiced unknown after an absence of six years from the steepness of British crags - and in the event the analogy with a swimming bath was apt.  September in North Wales was as wet, with lakes where I'd never seen lakes before; that is, of course, when the peculiar horizontal water allowed vision.

Anyway, Mark James and I holed up for the night in the Helyge garage (he having forgotten the key) and after a brief look at the incredible sight of the foaming, white dimly remembered Ogwen falls, now filled solidly with water at a forty five degree slope, we were soaked in the process.  A social call was in order and we went to my sister who now lives at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch. (true, true!)

Beer, lunch, a light stroll to view the Atlantic breakers driven by a massive wind to pound Anglesey, dinner and then, conscience pricking, back to the waterlogged Helyg garage with water jetting through its walls and a stream across its floor.

We were up next morning to much the same.  Then it was suddenly lighter.  Mark dashed outside and shouted that he could see Tryfan!  The wind had become stronger and more squally, leaving holes through which the sun streamed bravely.  Panic ensued. Cramming gear into sacs, we drove to the roadside at Gwern-y-goflichaf and in a lull in the Westerly squalls decided to get on to the East face of Tryfan - just to see.  The violence of the wind left the East face in an eddy.  It was nearly warm!  The higher we climber on the heather terrace, the drier became the rock until it became quite obvious to both of us that what we were really doing was heading for Gashed Crag, an old favourite of a climb.  Mark led out to the gash.  I took the corner chimney, Mark rounded the corner.  I stormed up the long, ribby stretches and he bombed up the final chimney to the summit.  All this in sunshine while amazingly - through the Nant Ffrancon and Bwldd Tryfan horizontal rain lashed by tremendous winds swept ferociously.  We paused in the lee of the summit to eat.  Standing upright was almost impossible and although we wasted some effort trying to persuade two emergency coloured people we met that they should complete Tryfan by jumping from Adam to Eve (the summit rocks) they declined though we offered them our rope.  They could hardly be blamed and, shouting 'goodbyes' in the wind roar, we scrambled rapidly down the North Ridge and, racing to car, reached it before another squall lashed across.

Well.  That was that.  Dry, having done a good when really we expected nothing more than a soaking, we set off early for home.  Another epic, we said.  Another epic.

 



Pyrenees 1974 Report of a Trip Partly Sponsored by the Ian Dear Memorial Fund

Malcolm Jarrett writes: Dear Mike and Sett, Thanks for the money!  I'm sorry this account has been so very slow. Initially I thought you wanted the B.B. article and then after the A.G.M.  Mike pointed out that a more complete article was wanted for reference. This was completed within a few days of the A.G.M. but suffered disastrously whilst journeying to Mendip in a coat pocket.  Only now have I had the time to copy and rephrase it.

This report will be a brief resume of the time spent in France.  More detailed accounts will follow in the B.B. later.  The trip was primarily a holiday and there was little time to organise anything serious due to examination commitments.  Hopefully, we reconnoitred for a trip in 1975.

CAVES VISITED

We arrived in France on the 15th, but due to the heat and the effects of the journey, we didn't get under ground until the 17th of August.

BETZULAKO HARPIA was our first trip.  The name is not French, but of Basque origin.  As Basque is one of only two languages known to exist in total isolation, it is difficult to derive much information from the name.  The -KO suffix is a genitive - hence BETZULA -KO means 'of Betzula (the name of the local mountain).

The cave has been studied for several years by Cambridge University Caving Club and is about 4 kilometres (two and a half miles) long.  We visited the Shipwreck Passage area (a survey is available via C.U.C.C.) and saw some very fine stal.

In the entrance area there are extensive cave bear scratches, although the route that bears took to arrive in the cave is unknown as the only current route involves two short pitches.  We did not follow the main passage due to lack of time.  The return journey to our campsite at Licq in the mist was rather frightening due to exposed drop on either side of several hundred feet.

Our second cave was BETCHENKAKO LEZIA.  This is on the same hillside as the Gouffre d'Aphanice. This sports a 328 metre (1,011 feet) underground pitch.  (Vulcan Pot is a similar number of feet!)  Our aims were more modest, the entrance pitch being a mere 180 feet.  Even this is moderated by having a handy winch installed by a French film enterprise.  We abseiled down on a rope belonging to C.U.C.C.  The funnel shaped entrance rift gave a really distorted perspective to the abseil, the occasional flash bulb from beneath giving it a truer sense of size.

The cave is of grand proportions everywhere and is covered with stal.  Unfortunately three carbide lights made little impression on the gloom.

Once out of sight of daylight there is an under ground pitch of seventy feet, rigged with very high quality steel ladders.  A short scramble leads into an area scarred by the debris of filming - light fittings, generator and film cans.  A further scramble along a wide bouldery gallery leads to a second set of fixed ladders, and another drop fifty feet down to a ledge which leads in turn to a further fifty foot down to a pool.  On the right hand side of the ladder is a steep mud slope at about thirty degrees.  This produces the most impressive sights from the ledge at the top of the last pitch, as other cavers scramble back to the same level and higher, on the mud.

This mud pile is capped by an area of huge gours, and after a few hundred feet a terminal chamber is reached.  This is several hundred feet in circumference and contain a massive gour.  Entry is made via a forty foot high balcony and a thrutching climb leads to floor level.

On the 20th of August we journeyed back along the hillside track past Betzulia to BORATCHEGAGNAHR HARPIA. There were a few details missing from the C.U.C.C. survey which we were to examine.  We were joined by Steve Dickinson from the Eldon after his labours down the Pierre St. Martin with U.L.S.A.

The entrance is a large crater beside the road.  This leads to a large half-lit chamber from which two passages lead off.  The left-hand passage had not been noticed previously and Steve wound his way into it.  I followed, through the faeces of various rodents until the bedding closed own conclusively.  Steve and I returned the others at the end of the C.U.C.C. survey.  There seemed to be a state of chaos with cavers ferreting about everywhere.  Steve disappeared down an evil rift and I followed as far as a climb.  This climb wasn't technically difficult but the friable rock was intimidating and I made an excuse to return to the others.  Steve carried on and discovered a large chamber, which he named the Salle Elisabeth (not after the queen, but his current girlfriend.)  The point of entry to the chamber was the head of a forty foot pitch and a further pitch lead to the known limit of the cave.  It was curious to note how much colder the high altitude caves were.

The next underground trip was into the Pierre St. Martin.  Little can be said of this cave that hasn't been said better elsewhere. Tarzieff and Casteret have both described the Pierre in readily available books.  We entered via the tunnel and set off towards the Lepineux shaft.  Unfortunately we didn't reach the shaft, which has lost much of its former glory by the ignominious addition of a concrete cap. The Spanish hope to turn the shaft into a show cave!

The dimensions of the Salle de la Verna are such that the original party thought that they had emerged into a starless night!

A further trip to Betchenkako occurred, completing the exploration described earlier.

The remaining two caving trips were in the Gouffre des Stalactites Deviees.  Max Cosyns had described the cave and wanted a maypole recovered.  Unfortunately we failed.

Days spent in daylight were occupied in shopping and walking.  Next year, Graham Wilton-Jones, John Dukes and myself intend finishing the work in the Gouffre des Stalactites Deviees if possible.

References:

1.                    B.E.C. at P.S.M. A. Nichols. B.B. No 323.

2.                    Gouffre Des Stalactites Deviees.  M. Jarrett, not yet published.

3.                    Caves of Adventure.  Haroun Tazieff.

4.                    The Discovery of the Pierre St. Martin.  N.Casteret.

5.                    As yet unpublished items by Graham Wilton-Jones, John Dukes and Sue Holmes.

6.                    An account of the P.S.M. by Nicholas Rechet, published in Cave Science.

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the Ian Dear Memorial Fund for the grant of £30 towards the trip.  Further thanks are due to C.U.C.C. for use of their tackle and influence and to John Dukes and Andrew Nichols for planning the trip.

Does Anyone Know?

Chris Howell writes 'Does anyone have any idea of the origin of the name 'Smitham Hill' (the hill up from East Harptree to the Castle of Comfort).  One possible answer may be connected with the old smelting works, but it seems that in Derbyshire the word 'smitham' was the name given to lead ore which had passed through the sieves after 'bucking' (breaking up with hammers) but before the buddling process.  It would be interesting if some connection between words used locally in Derbyshire and on Mendip could be established.  Chris adds that he is NOT offering a pint for the first correct answer!


 

Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany

Compiled by 'Wig'

174.      Northern News: Birksfell re-opens on April 14th when the five and a half month closed season ends.  Negotiations are under way to reduce this closure time.  Pikedaw Caverns is capped with an unlocked lid by C.N.C.C. and Y.S.S. and there is free access.  C.N.C.C. request that cavers maintain good relations with the tenant farmer Mr. John Haleltine, Hilltop Farm, Malham. There is no need to call.  Mongo Gill - North Shaft entrance has been capped with 'Sheep-proof' slab.  Permits required from D. C. Mellor, 9 Southview, Farnhill, Keighley, Yorks. Fairy Hole, Weardale.  Provisional agreement reached which could give access to one and three quarter miles of cave.  Survey under way which hopefully will discover alternative entrance sites. A.G.M. of C.N.C.C. is at Ingleborough Hotel, Ingleton at 3 p.m. on the 17th May 1975. Magnetometer Pot - Bolton Spelaeos have renewed entrance shaft.  Lancaster-Easegill - boulders on move at Stop Pot, should be treated with utmost caution.

175.      Charterhouse C.C. Permits: Members should check that their permits are still valid.  These are made out for five years.   Reissued permits can be obtained from Dave Irwin or Colin Dooley.

176.      New Members: We would like to welcome the following new members to the club:-

Miss Glenys Beazant.  190 Hinkler Rd, Thornhill, Southampton, Hants.SO2 6GS.

M.D. Barker.  Hunters Lodge, 4 Heath Rd, Pamber Heath, Nr. Basingstoke, Hants.

Miss M. Henderson.  28 Newgreens Ave, St. Albans, Herts.

S. Craig.  49 Stepley Drive, Southcote, Reading, Berks.

E.O. Humphries.  9 Mounters Close, Marnhull, Sturminster Newton, Dorset, DT10 5NT.

J. Wridley. 15 Minster Way, Bath.

177.      M.R.O.  At the A.G.M. of the M.R.O. Committee, the new Paraguard stretcher formed the centre of the discussion.  This professionally designed stretcher is basically by two aluminium tubes some six and a half feet long pitched a foot apart and spaced with a padded frame. Attached to the tubes are two wrap round straps which, together with webbing straps, clamp the patient securely. Additional features include feet straps; side carrying handles and some adjustable head straps for spinal injuries. Lifting gear is also supplied. The time to strap the patient into it takes only a few moments.  So far, it has only been tried in the Upper Series of Swildons Hole, but a carry from the Old Grotto via Jacob's Ladder and down Kenny's Dig to the entrance was shown to be eased considerably.  This is because of the two parallel tubes which enable the rescuers to lift the patient without the need for central support.  Low passages are no problem, compared with the use of a carrying sheet.

The general philosophy at the moment is that the patient will be tied up in the usual carrying sheet and then strapped into the paraguard stretcher. At places where the Paraguard stretcher proves impossible, the patient will be quickly removed and man handled in the usual manner.  In such caves as Longwood, the passages are ideally suited to the stretcher but the entrance series will require the carrying sheet.  Though at first sight this may appear a  'Heath Robinson' approach, the time saved by even a partial use of the paraguard will shorten a carry considerably.  The cost is £130 to M.R.O.  It sounds expensive, but the time saving will be worth while.  During the next few months, a check will be made in the main systems on the hill at places where passage bends might present problems. Some problem areas are thought to be as follows:-

1. Longwood       Christmas Crawl and the boulder choke upstream of the Great Chamber.

2. G.B.               Exit route from Mud Passage at the top of 10’ climb to First Grotto.

3. Swildons         Mud sump and Blasted Boss.

4. Eastwater       Bakers Chimney and boulder ruckle

5. Stoke             Not suitable for this stretcher

6. St. Cuthbert’s  Wire and Entrance Rifts.

7. Fairy/Hilliers    The Link

Other caves present no problems.  Subject to the findings of M.R.O., the clubs may be asked whether they would contribute towards the cost of this stretcher.

178.      The First Six Months: The current committee is in its mid-term and its actions to date have not been revolutionary but a steady trend improving the facilities offered to members.  The shower system has been modified as already reported and the fire moved and installed in the centre of the room.  A long discussion has taken place on the installation of two toilets inside the Belfry but the alterations are now under way with Butch and John Dukes in the midst of it.  With the threat of rising costs, Barrie and Wig have got together and drafted a report that will appear in the B.B. shortly. The Insurance subcommittee have met and its findings will be circulated to all members in plenty of time before the A.G.M. Graham Wilton-Jones has been hammering away rebuilding a quantity of club tackle and has also purchased dies and ferrules thus enabling the club to produce its own swagings for ladders. Chris Howell is obtaining vast stocks of surveys for members and Tim Large is keeping the light spares at the Belfry. Several new books have been added to the library, and the club tie position is being looked into.

179.      Ireland, 1975: While snowbound England ground to a halt and the weegees ran to overheated grates, the B.E.C. contingent went to the Clare coast. Talking to members before they went elicited the fact that each will be caving but all the others will be propping up the bar at O'Connor's!

180.      C.S.C.C. Meeting: The meeting on the 22nd March must have left Frank Murphy gasping for breath.  The attacks on the N.C.A. were most pointed and the Council have set up a sub-committee to look into the N.C.A. and suggest ways of modifying its structure.  This reports back to the C.S.C.C. in May.  The subcommittee consists of Alfie (B.E.C.) Tim Reynolds (W.C.C.) Fred Davies (W.C.C.) Dave Irwin (B.E.C.) and Mike O 'Connell (D.C.C.)


 

B.E.C. Publications

The following publications in the 'Caving Report' series are available from the B.E.C. Publications Editor (Chris Howell) at 131 Sandon Road, Birmingham B17 8RA or from the club H.Q. at the Belfry.  Standing orders will be accepted for any of the club's publications.  When ordering by post, please add 10p per item for postage and packing.  Any excess will be refunded or credited.

1. SURVEYING IN REDCLIFFE CAVES. A last opportunity to purchase this rare report which describes both the caves themselves and the surveying techniques used which included a plane table. 6pp with surveys.

3. THE MANUFACTURE OF LIGHTWEIGHT CAVING LADDERS. Full description of the production of ladders using taper pins and Talurit splices.  23pp with diagrams.

5. SURVEY OF HEADGEAR AND LIGHTING.  Although a reprint of the 1967 publication (at 1967 prices!) the detail of information on the equipment available is still almost current.  72pp with photographs, drawings etc.

10. THE B.E.C. METHOD OF LADDER CONSTRUCTION. Describes several methods of construction, including splicing of wire ropes.  29pp with diagrams.

11. THE LONG CHAMBER/CORAL AREA. OF ST. CUTHBERT’S. Only a very few left. 25pp with survey etc.

13. THE ST. CUTHBERT’S REPORT.  'In depth' descriptions, with Dave Irwin's incomparable surveys and Alfie Collins's Route Severity Diagrams.  Average 14pp with surveys, photographs etc.

            PART 'E' RABBIT WARREN; PART 'F' GOUR HALL AREA,

            PART 'H' RABBIT WARREN EXTENSION.

14. BALAGUE 1970.  Original B.E.C. exploration in the Pyrenees. 11pp, surveys, area map etc.

15. ROMAN MINE.  Full description of this important site with surveys and details of the more important finds.

16. MENDIP'S VANISHING GROTTOES.  Magnificent photographic record of a destroyed wonderland. 40pp, 2 surveys and almost all glossy photographs.

17. A BURRINGTON CAVE ATLAS.  Full historical information and surveys of all known sites in this particular area. 35pp,  surveys, photographs etc.

18. CAVE NOTES 1974.  First of a new series devoted to original work and research. Articles on new sites, legal implications of access, Sea caves in Devon, survey traverse mis-closures etc.  Over 27pp.

Prices Of The Above Reports (Bracketed prices refer to B.E.C. members only.)

No.1

No. 10

No. 13 ‘F’

No. 15

No.18

25p

25p

20p

60p (50p)

30p

No. 3

No. 11

No. 13 ‘H’

No. 16

25p

25p

20p

50p

No. 5

No. 13 ‘E’

No. 14

No. 17

45p (35p)

25p

20p

40p

 

The Following Surveys Are Available Through The Cave Survey Scheme

Aveline 's Hole

Browne’s Hole

Caves of Cheddar Gorge

Coopers Hole

Cuckoo Cleeves

Dallimores

Drunkards Hole

East Twin Swallet

Eastwater Cavern (2 sheets)

Goatchurch Cavern

Holwell Cavern

Lamb Leer

Lionel's Hole

Longwood/August Sheet 1.Plan

Sheet 2 Enlarged plan of Upper Series

Sheet 3, Sections etc.

Pinetree Pot

Quaking House Cave (Milverton)

Read's Cavern

St. Cuthbert’s Swallet

Sheet 1 - Provisional Plan

Sheet 2 – Section ……

Sheet 3. September series

Sheet 4. Cuthbert’s 2 etc.

Rabbit warren (2 sheets)

Shatter Cave

Stoke Lane Slocker

Swildons Hole

Ubley Hill Pot

Withybrook Slocker

Wookey Hole Ravine

Grade

6

5

6

5

5

5

5

6

5

6

6

4

5/6

6

6

6

4/6

4

5/6

 

4/6

4/6

4

6

6

6

5

6

5

5

6

20p

20p

40p

15p

15p

15p

10p

25p

70p

20p

20p

35p

10p

50p

20p

35p

25p

20p

15p

 

25p

35p

15p

5p

10p

20p

40p

40p

20p

15p

5p

Other surveys of Mendip caves available in the near future will include Axbridge Ochre Mine; Fairy Cave Quarry Area; Loxton Cave; Manor Farm Swallet and Rhino Rift.

Surveys of caves in other areas include:-

Gaping Ghyll (Far Country)

Leck Fell

Marble Sink

Marble Steps

Notts Pot (small)

Notts Pot (large)

O.F.D. (booklet with survey)

            Pate Hole 

Rumbling Hole

Threaplands Cave

Washfold Pot

Yordas Cave

 

4/5

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

¾

4

4

10p

25p

10p

10p

10p

35p

150p

15p

10p

35p

35p

20p

Profits from the sale of Rumbling Hole surveys go to Yorkshire C.R.O. funds.

N.B.  All publications are offered subject to availability Prices are correct at time of publication but are subject to fluctuation (upwards!) particularly in the case of surveys where we are bound by prices charged by the printer at the time of ordering.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 56

1

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

1. Master goes otherwise through 2 down for example. (6)
6. Have one in the Hunters perhaps or leave entry unclosed. (4)
7. Place containing folk opposed to strike? (6)
8. e.g. Plumley’s. (3)
9. e.g. galena. (3)
12. Work into a right temper perhaps? (6)
13. Tumble down part 5? (4)
14. A hundred and the French are dependable. (6)

Down

2. One of three possibilities underground on Mendip. (3,3,3)
3. Every cave does. (4)
4. Backward meat product show the way. (4)
5. All tar few – with Cuthbert’s pitch! (9)
10. Learner in backward feline can be used with wetsuits. (4)
11. Compiler, for example, of these crosswords. (4)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

R

E

 

S

E

E

P

E

D

U

 

S

 

B

 

H

 

O

C

U

T

H

B

E

R

T

 

K

 

U

 

S

 

E

 

C

L

U

C

K

 

H

A

L

L

E

 

K

 

T

 

T

 

I

 

S

O

L

U

T

I

O

N

H

 

U

 

B

 

C

 

T

A

R

T

I

S

T

 

I

S


 

Club Headquarters

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

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

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

Officers Of The Club

Honorary Secretary             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             Position vacant at present.

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

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

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

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

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

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

Spares                               T. LARGE,  Address already given

MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY…Mrs A. DOOLET, c/o THE BELFRY.

TO WHOM ALL SUBS SHOULD B SENT.  MEMBERS ARE REMINDER THAT SUBS DUE ON JAN 31ST MUST BE PAID BY APRIL 30TH

 

QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Dates

Easter

Yorkshire (Sleets Gill, Pippikin and Lancaster/Easgill.)

Summer

Pyrenean Trip – See notice board in belfry for details.  Sailing 20th July.  Minibus returns 3 weeks later.  Names to Mike Palmer by end of march – stating preference for 2 or 3 weeks.

Editorial

Beware of Dogma

On Saturday, March 22nd, at 2.30 p.m. - which will probably be a fine day and time for caving, climbing and all the activities for which the B.E.C. was founded - some of us will spend several hours copped up in Priddy Village Hall attending the meeting of the Council of Southern Caving Clubs.

I can almost hear the comments - 'More fool you!  'It's the ruddy cave politicians at it again' - 'Some people would rather talk about caving than actually do it' - and so on.

I don't suppose for a moment that our Hon. Sec. for example, actually wants to be there - and I'm sure that I don't.  It's all far too like the mythical University of Charterhouse for my liking - BUT - unless we DO turn up and see for ourselves what is going on - and do what we can to prevent what must be prevented - the University of Charterhouse may cease to become a Christmastide joke and be actually with us one day in the near future.  Look at all these statements, which have actually been made recently by people whose control over caving is increasing: -

'It does mean control; regimentation; licences etc. if you don't like it, give up caving.'

'Caving will have to become more expensive.'

'It also implies setting up educational and equipment safety standards.'

'We would be greatly helped by having lots of brass in order to employ full-time staff for administrative, publicity, training and scientific work.'

Are you frightened yet? You should be!  Unless, of course you take the attitude that you have nearly finished caving and couldn’t really care less about the future.

This is, if I might say so, a rather selfish attitude and smacks of 'Throw the mess deck overboard, I've had my breakfast, Jack!'

The Southern Council have so far had a good record of opposing some of the more dangerous suggestions that are being made, but we cannot afford always to leave it to somebody else to fight on our behalf.  Why not turn up on Saturday 22nd March and see and hear what goes on?  Who knows?  You might be just the sort of person who will one day be in a position to take over from those who are at present fighting to preserve our Mendip way of life - A way of life which we, perhaps, take too much for granted.

Or couldn't we really care less?

“Alfie”

Space Filler

The sentences below contain anagrams of the names of some members of the present committee.  One name is concealed in each sentence or phrase, and each gives a clue to the activities of the member concerned. Answers elsewhere in this B.B.

A.         I draw vein - a mineral vein perhaps.

B.         A line jams on growth, and needs repairing?

C.         C. Cold in ye loo! (and in ye Belfry sometimes)

D.         No liar brew it! - Jean checks that.

E.         I call on files (if I can find them!)

F.         Carry on as I am - or sell 'Which?'


 

Diccan Pot/Alum Pot Through Trip

Towards the end of last summer, Roger Wing, Keith and Derek Sanderson, who wrote this article spent a week camping in the Yorkshire dales.  One of their trips is described here.

Ever since we had clustered in the narrow passage and peered into the first pitch of Diccan Pot, it had been our ambition to do this trip.  Being familiar with Lower Long Churn, we quickly laddered to the bottom of Alum Pot carefully traversing round a bloated dead cow just above the final 25' pitch, and regained the surface in about an hour.  We then crossed the field over to Diccan Pot.

The entrance to Diccan Pot is similar to all the cave entrances in the Alum Pot area, being formed by a collapse into a horizontal stream passage about eight feet below the surface.  A low, wide entrance soon develops into a square shaped passage formed in light grey smoothly scalloped rock over which the stream swiftly flows.  The passage contains two deep pools - one chest deep. After about a hundred feet one comes to an abrupt halt as the stream plunges sharply over the first pitch of 105 feet.

The pitch looks narrow at first, with the stream seemingly filling the whole cavity.  We quickly belayed 150 feet of rope to a prominent spur of rock about 15 ft back from the lip and prepared ourselves for a single line abseil.  I went over first and dropped 15 feet to a narrow ledge, keeping out of the main flow of water.  Deciding that all was well, I dropped another 20 feet to find myself in the full flow of the water, hanging free from any rock surface.  From here, the descent to the floor of the pitch is entirely free hanging.  There is something awe inspiring in dangling free on a single line some eighty feet above the floor.  All one can see is the fan of water as it pours off one's helmet, and the noise is deafening.  The descent was one of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever had underground.

The base of the pitch is a wide ledge.  Here, some of the stream has become fragmented during its fall, filling the whole area with fine spray - rather like the fragmenting of Fell Beck as it reaches the floor of G.G.  Once on the ledge, I gave two blasts on the whistle to indicate that I had landed safely, and the others descended.  Communication is only possible by whistle due to the noise of the water and the depth of the pot.

From the ledge, a twenty five foot drop to the floor of the chamber was soon passed using the end of the same rope.  Crossing over a boulder strewn floor, we came to the head of a thirty foot rift with wedged boulders across the top.  This is meant to be a climb, but we were probably over cautious and descended on a double line fed through a pulley attached to the end of the previous rope.

Having retrieved the line, we followed the narrow, high rift passage over shallow pools for about seventy feet to the head of a twenty five foot drop.  This we found we could free-climb by chimneying.  At the foot of the drop the rift widens slightly and leads on for about fifty feet over uneven floor to the head of the final pitch of a hundred feet down which the stream cascades.

This pitch is not a smooth exhilarating pitch like the first one.  It is broken by ledges and is not quite vertical.  To descend it is hard work.  It is difficult to know where the pitch starts as it does not drop suddenly. We could not find a suitable belay from which the abseil rope could be retrieved, so we fitted up a crab and sling to a spur of rock on the right.

The descent consists of dropping from ledge to ledge in the full force of the stream, kicking the rope down as you go.  Care should be taken not to allow the water to force you off your feet as it tends to do. On the first pitch one could live with the stream, but on this pitch one has to battle against it.  Twenty feet from the base of the pitch is a wider ledge where one can rest for a while and look out into the final chamber of Alum Pot into which one has just descended.

We experienced some communication trouble here, and it was some time before all three of us were down and the rope retrieved.  It only remained for us to climb out via Lower Long Churn, de-tackling as we went. We reached the surface tired mentally as well as physically.

Although it is not a long cave, Diccan Pot is a formidable place.  The total trip was just over five hours but we were very deliberate and careful at each stage, not knowing quite what to expect next.  We could probably reduce this time by more than an hour on our next visit - and we certainly intend that there shall be a next visit!


 

Mik’s Peregrinations

January was to be the month when I started the first of a series of nonsense articles or jottings of some of the things observed during my wanderings over (and on occasion, under) the Mendip scene.  However, it was not to be!  I'm sure that it did not pass your notice that the Christmas B.B. was a trifle delayed - due to the non-availability of an up-to-date membership list, and this in turn delayed the January issue and hence this article.  Being a fan of a monthly B.B., I pursued this matter and was told (by a source close to the editor) that we will still get twelve issues this year.

Anyway, having started to talk about January, I'd better briefly mention the social scene - the first being the Setterington welcome to the New Year, followed later in the month by the Collins's ditto.  Meanwhile, one of the other clubs was holding a sort of lynching party for one of their deviant members whose crime was to spend the Christmas enjoying himself (he thinks) with friends from the B.E.C.  I understand they relented in the end and have not revoked his, or any other of the joint members membership.

The Morris Dancing (or climbing) section of the club made a visit to N. Wales which was a great success except that some rotten ------- seems to have stolen the route round the 'shoe' thus causing the party to walk miles further than necessary.  Anyone re-discovering this route please report to the Climbing Secretary.

On the subject of secretaries - amazingly devious mind, this bloke has - someone has sent me a cutting from a local paper which demonstrates the remarkable erudition of our club nowadays, and in particular the Caving Sec.  Mr. Andrew Nichols acting in his capacity as Bath City Corporation Assistant Solicitor (Mr. YY has found two rusty drawing pins in his sausages) "Mr. Nichols said that Mr. YY was not hurt, but it was a very unpleasant experience.  You may well consider he was lucky not to have swallowed them."

A while ago at the Belfry, the S.R.T. enthusiasts were observed measuring and chopping into reasonable lengths a bundle of Super Braidline Nylon rope which they had bulk purchased.  No doubt we shall hear more of the doings and success (or failure) of these enthusiasts at a later date.

There is one of the usual lulls on reports of caving activities at the moment, unless you count all the secret digging being carried out at places like Windsor Hill.  A few snippets just in case 'Wig' misses them: -

Royston Bennett's Chepstow dig seems to have been a success.  It is even got a sump that can only be passed by consultation with a set of tide tables.  Although we don't see too much of Roy on Mendip at the moment I trust he will continue doing these good things to the normal excess.

Cuckoo Cleeves is a small cave you might remember only for its shuttering. However, it's getting larger, thanks to the Wessex, and now boasts a terminal (?) boulder ruckle which might appeal to those masochists who appreciated the stability of Tankard’s Hole.

On Eastern Mendip, the quarrymen continue to aid caving, albeit with less enthusiasm than in the past and only recently one Sunday morning they could be observed escorting cavers across the quarry floor in the direction of Withyhill. It seems access is getting no easier despite the close relationship of Cerberus to the quarry management.  Any cavers should be careful not to offend when visiting this area.

On a lighter note, the Belfry after hours has been getting quite riotous lately, as emphasised by Colin Dooley and John Hookings demonstrating the old Irish wrestling - a vicious pastime not to be taken lightly.  Then there was Butch celebrating both his membership and his birthday with a barrel.  His birthday presents included a personal copy of the Sex Maniac's Diary and a pretty string vest type cover for his 'sock'.  Then there was Steven's adoption as Belfry Boy - a decision I'm sure he will rue when he learns fully the duties that go with the job.

That's all for this month. Maybe next month there will be something interesting - you never know.



Withyhill Cave Survey Notes

Notes on the recently published survey of Withyhill to be read in conjunction with that survey, by Dave Irwin.

Withyhill Cave was discovered by quarrying at Fairy Eave Quarry, near Stoke St. Michael in December 1972 - the sixth system of any size to be explored within the quarry limits.  The cave was explored by members of the Cerberus Speleological Society.  Shortly afterwards, Dr. W.I. Stanton produced a line survey to Grade 3 that indicated that the cave lay parallel with, and at certain points near to, Shatter Cave.  To determine possible sites for digging, Doug Stuckey and the author produced a survey to the obsolete C.R.G. Grade 6D (with tripod mounted instruments).

Instruments. The compass, a liquid-filled ex-W.D. prismatic and the clinometer (Japanese type) were mounted on a table together with two spirit levels, placed at right angles to each other for levelling purposes.  The whole unit - the Surveying Unit - was mounted on an ex-W.D. wooden theodolite tripod with brass fittings.  The tapes used were 30m and 10m fibron tapes.

Method of Surveying. The survey lines were produced by using the familiar 'leap-frog' technique commencing at the far end of the Glistening Pool Series and taken through to the entrance.  The West Limb of the system was surveyed on a later occasion to the same standard except where difficulties were encountered in the First and Second Boulder Chokes, when the standard was reduced to hand held equipment (B.C.R.A.5).  Offsets were marked so that extensions of this line could be made and enabling side passages to be tied on to the main survey line.

Passage detail was measured at all survey stations and at many intermediate points.  Chamber detail was collected by 'raying' from survey stations. The survey work was split between the surveyors as follows: -

Glistening Pool Series to Entrance - D. Irwin & D. Stuckey.  G.P. Junction to second boulder choke - D. Irwin.

Calibration. This proved difficult, as all field hedges were fenced additionally with barbed wire, rendering field junctions useless for calibration purposes.  After preliminary checks, the centreline of a straight portion of road was finally selected.

The calibration point lay along the southernmost section of the Fairy Cave Quarry road to the crossroads at N.G.R. 6521 4725.  It was later shown that this point was not completely free of magnetic influence, as the overall N/S distance from the entrance of the cave to the second boulder choke was in error by a little less than 10 and this error is entirely due to calibration error, as the two points, the radius location point and the same point represented on the survey coincided satisfactorily when the two were superimposed.

Survey Grading. All main survey lines were surveyed to C.R.G. Grade 6D (or B.C.R.A.6D tripod mounted).  Side passages were surveyed to B.C.R.A.5 and in two short passages; the standard was dropped to B.C.R.A.4.  This reduction of surveying standard was due entirely to the presence of stalagmite deposits.

Plotting.  The co-ordinates for each station and passage outline were plotted on to graph paper and then traced on to 'Permatrace'. The small scale at which the survey was drawn (1:400) did not permit the inclusion of floor deposits without cluttering the overall appearance.  Thick deposits of stalagmite are shown in many of the passage sections.

General Data.

Surveyed length = 766m (2,513 feet)

Vertical Range = 20m approx. (65feet 7 inches)

Number of surveying trips - line survey 3 (total 7 hours) details etc. 4 (total 7 hours)

Conclusions. The optimistic relationship of Shatter and Withyhill caves, as concluded by various people, does not exist.  The distance between East Rift in Withyhill and the Five Ways Chamber in Shatter is some 60m (197ft) apart.  The survey has been checked by radio location, an exercise carried out by Prewer et al. (6) in 1973.  Plotting of the radius location point and comparing the co-ordinate change between the entrance and the second boulder choke show the survey to be at variance by about 7m (23ft).  The reason for this has already been given and is wholly attributable to a faulty calibration site.

Acknowledgements. The surveyors would like to thank and acknowledge the help of the following, without whom the survey would not have been possible:-

Hobbs Quarries Ltd.; Cerberus Speleological Society; B. Wilton, for technical advice regarding the presentation of the survey and for photographic reduction, and the many members of the Bristol Exploration Club who held tapes and took notes.


 

The Lake District (6th – 10th February)

An account by Andy Nichols of a typical club trip.

The response to Barrie Wiltan's Thermawear Fetishists weekend in the Lakes was enthusiastic - and on the evening of Thursday 6th February, Colin and Angela Dooley, Sue and Tony Tucker, Tom and Colleen Gage, Barrie and Brenda Wilton, Chris Batstone, Martin Bishop, Andy Nichols and Mike Palmer travelled north to the ice climbing and snow walking we had been promised (via a pub at Sandbach which had a power cut as we pulled up outside - they must have been warned!)  Instead of falls of snow, we got something better - three days of flawless blue skies and cool, still air.  The best walking weather I'd seen in the Lakes for ten years.

The morning's first task was to visit Coniston to sound out the pubs.  Reassured, we set out for the hills. Colin, Angie and I scaled the Old Man of Coniston and completed the semicircle of crags to the north and east. The others, with a later start, had-time to trundle up and down the Old Man before dusk.

Later that evening, Bob Cross arrived after throwing the last of the days old ladies out into the cold streets of Bradford.  The driver succeeded in getting the lorry off the mountain and we all went to the pub. Mike must have exceeded the bounds of prudence with the Hartley's prize-winning Ales, because we woke blearily on Saturday morning to find him lurching around in his pyjamas and trying to retch up a mouthful of feathers left by the Night Parrot.

Saturday's attack was on Helvellyn, from Patterdale.  A dozen of us made our way up on to Striding Edge and to the top at varying paces and in small groups.  The D team pace is particularly difficult and those unused to the slow transfer of weight from one foot to the next, frequently overbalance.  The descent was along the plateau like summit to Dollywaggon Pike, down to the sombre Grisedale Tarn and along the valley towards Patterdale, a total of some ten miles.  Barrie and a group of ice men preferred the shorter, steep gully descent from the Pike as one variation; as another, the caving secretary went berserk at the tarn and insisted on storming up another two peaks before returning to the van - to the amazement of himself and the whole population of the Goddam Isles.

Saturday evening was another uproarious one at the pub.  At Barrie's request we tried to stay awake to catch the ghostly Irishman with the Night Parrot on his shoulder but failed.  The dormitory woke on Sunday morning to moans of "Like an Afghanistani crab-catcher’s bait-bucket!"  In the morning we were briefly joined by Jock and Judy before journeying to the New Dungeon Ghyll to dispose of Langdale valley.  The teams arranged themselves.  Mike, Colin and I climbed Pike o' Blisco, then on over Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell, down over Rosset Pike to the end of the valley, returning by Rosset Gill and the valley bottom.  We had intended to do the Langdale Pikes on the other side as well, but needed another ninety minutes daylight.  The 'E' team - whose members are nameless - did nothing, despite being joined by Barrie, who had aggravated an earlier ankle injury.  Anyway, that was what we decided it was, though a stranger in a passing Rolls tipped a jumble of gleaming bones out of a green felt bag marked 'For medical use only' and tried to persuade us it was malaria.

The rest of the party; Brenda, Angie, Tom and Colleen and Tony and Sue made their way with Bob Cross to climb Bow Fell by the little-known Fiasco Traverse.  At about the time that the 'A' team was trotting across the summit, Bob decided that his route was dangerously icy and there was no way up, so a perplexed group was lifelined back down a gully.  The other half of the group caused an uproar by bursting into laughter and the situation was only resolved when a boatswain stepped out of a nearby recitation, blow his whistle and sent them all back to the van, deciding he could do more than a little better himself.

And so to the pub for the last evening, where the colour T.V. in the bar was showing a programme so lavishly cultural that there were roars of approval from the B.E.C. members in the cheaper seats and the caving secretary in his determination not to miss anything, missed two rounds without noticing.

On Monday the meet wound down.  As a complete contrast, thin mist blotted out all the hills and sent us to the pub for a final session before the driver got the lorry off the mountain for the last time and we began the long drive back to Bristol - but with three magnificent days walking to look back on.


 

A Yorkshire Trip

This article, on the recent Yorkshire trip at least goes to show that club trips DO come off and that caving DOES get done!

As a result of the short notice of the trip, only four B.E.C. members arrived in Yorkshire.  John Dukes, Bucket, Graham Wilton-Jones and myself were joined by Fred Weekes (Ashford Speleological Society) and Ted Popham (A Cerberus exile in Nottingham).

Graham awoke at eight o’clock and started to dress.  John and I remained inert until a sickening thud announced that Ted had forgotten that he had been sleeping under an oak beam.  The resulting laughter revealed that John and I were awake, so we dressed to humour Graham.

During breakfast, Bucket arrived with Fred.  Despite a lecture on the wonderful weather and the subtle charm of Yorkshire beer, Bucket still wanted to go down Rowden Pot.  We had hoped to abseil the 240 eyehole entrance so that Bucket could learn the art.  Unfortunately we had insufficient rope and so had to make the alternative descent, Bucket and Fred arranged a line down the seventy foot slide at one end of the shakehole, and we descended by a variety of abseil and free fall methods. After this we threaded ourselves through the bedding plane that leads back to the eyehole, eighty five feet down.

Here, we rigged a further hundred and ten foot drop to a ledge.  Again, we did not have a long enough rope to bottom in one abseil. John abseiled down Bucket's sixteen year old rope, to find that the ledge was way off to the right.  After some fearful acrobatics, he arrived at the ledge and we joined him.  Soon we had the wet pitch rigged and we all descended the fifty feet to the bottom of the eyehole.  Even now, some misty daylight filtered down with the ice-cold water from the moor above.

The main route then leaves the stream for a few minutes and follows a dry by-pass, rejoining the stream at a twenty five foot pitch down to a pool.  John and I distinguished ourselves by tripping over the ladder and falling face down in the pool.  After another pitch we got to the sump pool which separates Rowdon from West Kingsdale Master Cave.

Bucket, Fred and Ted were determined to free-dive the sump.  John and Graham preferred not to, and I remained undecided.  However, the relative warmth of the pool after the stream persuaded me to go, through.  The sumps are fitted with a good line and are quite roomy.  On arrival in Kingsdale, we floundered through until the approach passage to Deep Rising was found.  We grovelled off down as far as a sump - not the boiling cauldron that I imagined from the name Deep Rising - but a sombre, glooping pool with a diving line as thick as a bootlace and as stretchy as knicker elastic.

We returned to the sump area and then joined the stream that leads towards Valley Entrance at the master cave junction.  We followed the stream to its sump, and then Bucket and Fred climbed the nineteen foot pitch to rig a ladder for Fred and myself.  Last time I saw someone try his hand at this climb, he sawed his lifeline in half, but Fred and Bucket performed better and soon afterwards we slithered out of the Oil Drum entrance into a sunny afternoon.

Bucket suggested a Swinsto/West Kingsdale through trip, but fortunately Graham and John were still pushing their way out of Rowden Pot.  Before Bucket's scheme could be put to the vote, I changed and suggested a walk back to the peat cutters track to collect John and Graham.

On our arrival back at the eyehole, the air was rent with Graham's swearing.  He was not prussiking very well on my cloggers.  I'd lent them to Graham for the return trip, as I wanted to pass the sumps without hindrance.

Eventually Graham, John and a heap of tackle arrived at the ledge.  We lowered them a rope and hauled the tackle to the surface to save the drag through the bedding plane.  Graham and John soon surfaced and Graham immediately demanded my cheque book to buy some Jumars in Settle as cloggers cramped his style!  After a fine morning as guests of Fred, Ted left to attempt Black Shiver Pot and we were joined by another A.S.S. member, Brian.  Fred was keen to do the link from Dow Cave to Providence Pot.  His main reason being to practice route finding. I make no excuse for omitting details of the trip - Northern Caves is far more precise in its description.

The trip, as I remember it, is one long traverse, besides which the traverse of O.F.D. III pales. Wearing a pair of joke boots didn't help and in several places I needed a rope.  At one point we even rigged a Tyrolean Traverse.

Providence Pot is much easier to find now that there is a telephone wire to trace, although this is doubtless a shocking breach of ethics.  Providence Pot is aptly described as the bowels of the earth! Nevertheless, we survived and will doubtless recall the trip with tender memories as time gradually obscures the boredom and terror.

A good weekend.  Let's hope there will be more like it.


 

Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany

Compiled by 'Wig'

154.      Survey Gradings.  In December 1972, the Surveying Sub Committee set up by the C.R.G. before its amalgamation with the B.S.A. reported its findings in C.R.G. News Letter Number 132.  It said that the majority of cave surveyors were 'of the opinion that because the existing system worked very well and was widely recognised it would be preferable for any amendments to be minor rather than radical changes.  This would have the advantage that the new and modified schemes were at least reasonably compatible.'

The sub-committee (Dave Brook, Bryan Ellis, Trevor Ford, Dave Judson and Gordon Warwick) sounded out surveyors for their comments and views.  The fundamental decision reached was that no longer would grades be based on instruments used but on the required precision for lower grades and accuracy for the higher grades.  The numbering of the grades is unaltered except that there no longer exists a grade 7 but a grade X for any survey not based on magnetic instruments.  The grade X can be of any related accuracy and no longer has to be better than grade 6. The terms 'accuracy' and 'precision' have been defined.  Accuracy is the nearness of the result to the true value and precision is the nearness of a number of readings to each other irrespective of their accuracy.  The new grades are as follows:-

1.                    A sketch of low accuracy where no measurements have been made.

2.                    A sketch intermediate in accuracy between grades 1 and 3.

3.                    A rough magnetic survey.  Horizontal and vertical angles to nearest 50, distances to within 1m.  Station position error less than 1m.

4.                    A survey lying between grades 3 and 5.

5.                    A magnetic survey.  Horizontal and vertical angles accurate to 1O.  Distances accurate to 20cm and station position error less than 20cm. Instruments must be calibrated.

6.                    A more accurate magnetic survey than grade 5.  Compass and clinometer readings up to the present best standard of accuracy of ½O. Distances and station positions to 5cm.

X.                    A survey based primarily on a theodolite.  All grade X surveys must quote an estimate of their accuracy and details of the methods and instruments used.

Why, oh why must we have our national 'specialists' bury their heads in the sand against all reasoned argument?  However, it does seem that the sand was a little loose around their ears as they have now introduced preferred grades and if one looks a little closely at them, one will see that the Mendip surveyor’s arguments have been filtering through.  In the late 1960's, after considerable thought, the Mendip surveyors came to the conclusion that there were only TWO basic groups of survey.  One was a LOW accuracy survey which for want of a better word they called a MAP and a high accuracy survey which they agreed should be actually called a SURVEY.  Even these definitions are unnecessary as the only message that need be put across is that any survey is better than none at all and when you've done it, white a short note on how you did it.  By the way, is your 1” O.S. survey (or map) a map (or survey)?  Is the 25” O.S. a surveyor map?  Pity the sub-committee couldn't see it!

155.      Watch your car.  Car thieves are about on Mendip again.  Recently a visitor to the Mineries Pool had his car broken into and over £120's worth of property stolen.  No longer are the thieves sliding wire through the quarter lights - they are simply smashing them.

156.      No speed limit through Priddy.  The local authorities have turned down a request for a 30 m.p.h. limit through the village.

157.      New Books.  The third hook in the Series ' Northern Caves' (Volume 4) Whernside and Gragareth has made its appearance.  Price £1.20.  At the same price Trevor Ford's 'Caves of Derbyshire' (3rd Edition) makes its appearance.  In the same format as the Northern Caves series, it now includes line surveys of the larger caves in the area.  Small stocks are at the Belfry.  The second in the Series 'Limestone and Caves, published by David and Charles, dealing with Mendip makes its appearance now, after three publishing dates, on April 3rd 1975.  Price £7.50. Tony Oldham's latest offering is a giant bibliography entitled 'Caves of Scotland (Except Assynt)'.  Though there are several caves within the country longer than a thousand feet, the majority are merely short caves and rock shelters. Martin Mills has contributed the section dealing with the Isle of Skye. 174pp, maps, surveys, price £3.00. The dedication is to John Hooper.  ADO states that 'Caves of Devon' is now out of print.

158.      Digging.  The N.H.A.S.A. Windsor Hill dig is continuing on Wednesdays.  The B.E.C. dig has ground to a halt for the next few months. Flower Pot is being reopened and dug in the side passage near the entrance.

159.      Cave Notes.  The next edition will make its appearance later in the year and will include more interesting articles on original work carried out by club members.  Among the items to be considered is John Hunt’s SRT, Graham Wilton-Jones and Bucket Tilbury's 'OFD' and other bits and pieces.

160.      Library Books.  Have you any library books?  If so, will you please return them as soon as possible so that a half-yearly check can be made.

161.      C.S.C.C. Hon. Secretary.  In May this year, Tim Reynolds is resigning as Hon, 'Secretary of the C.S.C.C.  He is looking round for possible contenders for the post.  If you feel that you ought to enter the filed of National caving politics, then chat Tim up as I feel sure he will be interested.

162.      Britain's Longest caves: (including Eire). O.F.D. 23.9 miles (38,500m); Easegill 18.95 miles (30,500m); Aggy 15.41 miles (24,800m); Pollnagollum 7.33 miles (11,800m); Gaping Gill 7.02 miles (11,300m); D.Y.O. 6.96 miles (11,200m); Doolin 6.52 miles (10,500m); Langcliffe 6.03 miles (9,700m); Mossdale 6.03 miles (9,700m); L.N.R.C. 5.09 miles (8,200m); W. Kingsdale 4.72 miles (7,600m); Peak 4.66 miles (7 ,500m).

Answers to Space Filler on page 12

A.         Dave Irwin

B.         Graham Wilton-Jones

C.         Colin Dooley

D.         Barrie Wilton

E.         Alfie Clloins

F.         Chris Howell


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 54

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Across:

1. Fifty one cats provided caving safety aids. (9)
5. It’s home can be found in Lamb Leer and Cuthbert’s. (3)
6. Cavers from Harrow or naturally cave diggers. (5)
8. The Bishop has a stone one in Wells. (3)
9. The best. (1,1,1)
10. See 13 across.
11. You can see one from Dear Leap for instance. (3)
12. Kept this in goon suit? (5)
13. Describes well known grotto (3)
15. Caver lies this rocks when in 9 down underground. (2,7)

Down

1. Throw stone casually down unknown pitch perhaps. (3)
2. Inexpensive rockwork without I across. (4,5)
3. Local stone type. (4)
4. Only pen or specific 1 across. (9)
7. Mendip hole found in subs owing. (3).
9. See 15 across. (3)
11. Shortened Mendip Templar? (4)
14. One of these is locally named after a short “M” pulley. (3)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

R

U

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K

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R

 

 

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Club Headquarters

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

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

Members           C. Dooley, J. Dukes, C. Howell, D. Irwin, T. Large, A. Nicholls, G. Oaten, B. 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

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

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

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

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

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

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

Spares                               T. LARGE,  Address already given

MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY…Mrs A. DOOLET, c/o THE BELFRY.

TO WHOM ALL SUBS SHOULD B SENT.  SUBS ARE DUE NOW

QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Editorial

Where Now?

We make no apology for reproducing in this B.B. the article written by the current secretary of the Council of Southern Caving Clubs - Tim Reynolds.

As stated in the last issue of the B.B., it is becoming highly necessary for the average caver to know (and preferably to see for himself) just what is going on amongst the 'politicians' of caving.  Tim, as the spokesman of the Southern Council, has already fought various battles to help preserve our present way of life as Mendip cavers and is thus in an excellent position to appreciate the situation.  Readers are strongly advised to read his message carefully.

Inflation

Not even the B.E.C. is proof against the prevailing rate of inflation.  Reluctantly, the committee has had to increase Belfry charges - which had remained static for eight years in the face of rising costs.  With postal rates going up and the price of paper etc. rising more rapidly than the general rate of inflation, a recommendation will have to be made by the committee to the next A.G.M. about subs.  Needless to say, the committee are looking into every possible way of keeping prices down and giving the members the best value for money, and if YOU have any suggestions as to how this can be done, any member of the committee will be glad to hear of it.

Belfry Alterations

The Belfry Engineer and his advisers have come up with a simple and low cost plan to improve the facilities at the Belfry.  They are, we feel, to be congratulated both on the speed at which they have gone to work and also on their realistic and practical approach.  We hope that the work can soon be started and wish them success.


 

The N.C.A. Where Now?

An appraisal of the present state of the N.C.A. together with some thoughts on its future role

by Tim Reynolds.

At the recent N.C.A. Annual Meeting held in Wells the chairman in his address put forward the view that the N.C.A. would soon have to give serious consideration to employing some form of paid staff.  This suggestion has come only a short time after the N.C.A. was set up as a national body for caving in November 1969.  In view of the wide implications of this suggestion and the fact that it comes at a time when the full effects of the existence of the N.C.A. are only just being appreciated by club cavers, it would appear to be a good time to pause for thought before cavers suddenly find themselves with an organisation of a type which they do not want.  During its brief career as a national body the N.C.A. has already moved through two stages of organisation and now appears to be about to move into a third.  These stages are as follows:-

STAGE 1 – as a loose collection of autonomous organisations to (a) speak with one voice on caving matters and (b) act as a body so that a grant could be obtained from the Sports Council.

STAGE 2 – as a body to deal with all of the stage 1 functions and, in addition, to (a) look into problems raised by constituent bodies and (b) deal with day-to-day contact with the Sports Council and other outside organisations.

STAGE 3 – as a body to deal with all the stage 2 functions and in addition to set standards and procedures for caving in its various forms.

The N.C.A. developed rapidly from stage 1 to stage 2 and now the combination of remarks in the Chairman’s address and the formation of the Equipment Special Committee indicate that it could be moving into the stage 3 category.  In view of the considerably increased work load that an organisation of this type would produce the chairman's remarks about fully paid staff make a lot of sense.  But before this step is taken, the caving community as a whole should consider whether they want to take this step.

At this point it is perhaps useful to pause and to consider the financial aspects involved.  In the past this has been difficult because the Sports Council appear to have been uncertain as to amount of grant they could give to the N.G.A.  This now seems to have been resolved, but the problems that have arisen with the grant from the Sports Council must raise questions as to the advisability of the N.C.A. making long term financial plans when the basis of that finance is subject to instant and unpredictable changes.  The present system is that the Sports Council will provide grant aid to the extent of 75% of administrative, access and training expenditure and 50% of equipment expenditure.  This means that each constituent body has to find from its own resources the following expenditure: (1) 25% of the administrative costs of the N.C.A. executive and special committees plus all non grantable costs (e.g. travelling) and (2) 25% of its own grantable costs plus its own non-grantable costs.  The constituent bodies share of the N.C.A.'s costs is financed by the subscriptions paid by those bodies to the N.C.A. which, for 1974/5 are £35 for each regional council.  In simple cash terms this means that in order to benefit in 1974/5 each regional council must incur £46 of grantable expenditure - up to that point its subscription to the N.C.A. will exceed its grant in previous years, the costs of regional councils have been above this level but it could be argued that these costs are (a) the administration necessary to run the regional councils which would not be required if there were no N.C.A. and (b) only incurred because the grant is available to meet 75% of them.  This however is something which can only be assessed by individual councils.  But - it is worth remembering that the employment of any fully paid staff by the N.C.A. would considerably increase the subscriptions paid by the constituent bodies to the N.C.A.

Now to the organisation of the N.C.A.  At present it has the following constituents.  An annual meeting of the constituent bodies; an executive committee and various special committees.  In view of the rapid increase in workload and the structure of the N.C.A. since 1969, a lot of thought needs to be given to the interaction and mode of operation of these constituents to ensure that the N.C.A. can (a) come to a decision whether to move to stage 3 and (b) if it does decide to do so, decide how it is to be done. Attached is an organisation chart which is an attempt to show the present inter-relation between the various constituents.  As can be seen, the source of power lies with the constituent bodies, but the centre of activity and information lies with the executive committee.  It is to the structure and method of operation of this committee that attention should be directed.  Originally the committee was set up to carry out the wishes of the annual meeting and so the members were elected for their ability to get jobs done, not to represent anyone.  However, events proved that this was not practical since outside organisations and events often required the executive committee to act on sometimes quickly and so the executive committee had to act on its own since the process of calling an annual meeting to obtain instructions was too cumbersome.  Once this development had taken place it them became necessary for the executive committee to include some form of regional representation and this was provided at the last N.C.A. annual meeting.  If this trend is taken to its logical conclusion then the executive committee should consist of the following: - (a) The N.C.A. officers - chairman, secretary and treasurer (b) representatives from the four regions and the combined scientific bodies and (c) perhaps, one or two ordinary members to do some of the donkey work.

It also soon became apparent that there are certain items of N.C.A. business which cannot be dealt with practically by the executive committee.  This is because these items generate a considerable amount of specialist business and so to discuss this at executive committee meetings would make those meetings very long.  In addition it would be difficult to have an executive committee which was made up of people with sufficient expertise to discuss all these items.  The practical solution was for the executive committee to delegate discussion of these areas to special committees specifically formed to investigate them and to report back to the executive committee.  This was recognised by the creation of special committees and to date there are three of them dealing with the following areas: - Conservation; Novice Training, and Equipment.  However, any special committee must remember that it is only an adjunct of the executive committee and so must always operate under the supervision of the executive committee by reporting back and obeying the instructions of that body. In this context, the post of Conservation Officer on the executive committee is now somewhat out of place since it is a hangover from the original idea of the executive committee when the N. C.A. was in stage 1.  Convenors of special committees should only attend executive committee meetings in an ex-officio capacity to present the report of their special committee. In this type of organisation the job of the executive committee is (1) to deal with the non-specialist N.C.A. business and (2) to oversee the activities of the special committees.  In carrying out its job its most important function is to ensure that its own activities or the activities of the special committees for which it is responsible do not run counter to the wishes of any of the constituent bodies of the N.C.A.  This can only be effectively achieved if the executive committee has unanimous voting and accepts that it may have to delay decisions because it is necessary to refer some matters back to the constituent bodies. This might appear to be a time consuming and tedious way of doing business, but the actions of any national organisation can have very wide spread effects.  The failure to fully consider these effects and to amend actions so that the wishes of a constituent body are not over-ridden could result in the N.C.A. being torn apart by internal disagreements.

It may seem that organisation charts and talk of power is irrelevant to caving.  But, unless the N.C.A. faces up to these issues and its structure becomes organised to take practical realities into account, there is a danger that the N.C.A. will spend the whole of its life in internal and wasteful strife.  The solution is for the executive committee to appreciate its position and realise that any action that is taken may have effects of a major nature on one or other sections of caving.  Failure to appreciate this and organise the N.C.A. accordingly so that the wishes of the constituent bodies are taken into account would be disastrous.  Finally, members of the executive committee must appreciate that they are responsible to the constituent bodies as a whole, because if this is not appreciated there is a danger that the procedures and decisions of the N.C.A. will become divorced from the reality of everyday caving and so reduce the whole of the N.C.A. to an expensive and time-wasting sham.

 


 

Caerfai Southwest Face 1974

Tony Sharp writes 'I submit the enclosed, about which Mr. Oaten assures us we are all longing to hear, with the utmost trepidation.  It is to be part of a book - the same title to be published this year and thanks are due to the publishers for this extract.

Morning, Again.

Sensations associated with waking up have become familiar.  Bucket mouthed eyes bloodshot and raw, waves of nausea.  Outside the tent, miraculously still erect, the sounds of coughing, choking, haemorrhaging and painful expectoration are more than vaguely audible.  In all, the unmistakeable symptoms of a party ravaged by the effects of altitude.

After lying awake for long enough, ones inertia is overcome by the impossibility of further sleep; the smell of the sleeping bag and its immediate environs, coupled with the sounds from outside make a painful emergence the only solution.

I crawled out to the accompaniment of an unexpectedly healthy gob from Pete, his stubbled face radiant with enthusiasm.  On this, the morning of what was to be our first summit attempt, the excitement of a traditional B.E.C.  Alpine start was still able to overcome the effects of accumulated weariness. Although we had had ample time to relax during the previous two days, a number of factors among them our somewhat repetitive trot had assured a certain degree of physical deterioration, dizziness, wild hallucination and even enthusiasm in some individuals.  Although the weather seemed favourable (vague suggestions of cloud in the direction of Haverfordwest did not indicate any impending danger from the monsoon) it was -obvious that time was not on our side.

A certain lethargy seemed to impede our movements as we prepared to move off.  Finally geared up, we set out to follow the top of a curving line of cliffs, leading to a steep gully which took us down to the base of the final wall, rearing up to the vertical, steep and white above us.  A vertical crack appeared to indicate a possible break in the cliff’s defences; without mentioning names or dwelling unduly on individual feats of heroism, I should only record that this intimidating obstacle was overcome without undue difficulty, and a final heave deposited us in turn upon the summit plateau - surprisingly large in area - where we were able to recover and gaze in awe to the North and the towering face of Coeran, and secrets yet un-probed.

No champagne, no photographs; really, very little more than a great sense of anticlimax, sharpened by the advisability of a hasty retreat.

Final success in feats of this magnitude inevitably raises basic, fundamental questions, some general, and some specific to the expedition undertaken.  Should we have taken sherpas?  Scott, of course, did not take dogs.  (Should we have taken sheep?)  It should be pointed out that Caerfai may hold summits which will not be attained without sherpas, as Pembroke is developed their use may become widespread. Our determination that this should be a 'sporting' ascent also meant that we climbed without oxygen; without two-way radios; subsidised cans of Tyne Brand pie filling; Olympus earners or Jumars.  Indeed, it is our proud claim that almost all the accoutrements of modern Himalayan climbing were absent from this ascent.  There is, apparently, still scope for the ill-equipped sporting amateur.

Editor's Note.     And there is still scope for the well written leg-pull that lets you down so gently and with no little skill.  Thanks very much, Tony.


 

Verse

As a further antidote to the rather heavy going of caving politics, we publish on the next page one of the rare excursions into verse that occur, perhaps, too seldom nowadays. It comes from that well-known all-rounder, 'Kangy' King and makes a plea for a more colourful Mendip of the sort that existed once and could, perhaps, exist again?

While seated there, upon the bog
Engaging in the usual slog
Of thought and of philosophy,
How very sad it seemed to me
That caving has become so tough
That we don't seem to get enough
Of bods (that word, I fear's no more!)
Who'd cave - then, on the Hunters' floor
Would lie, or even better, stand
And, pint of bitter in their hand,
Declaim in no uncertain fashion
A verse or two with fervent passion.
To each his speciality
Acclaimed aloud by you and me.
Our Alfie was a favourite one
Whose spelaeodes were certain fun:
And Ian Dear, his insides wet,
Would take us through the alphabet.
A Cornishman - young Kenneth Dawe
With beery eye, a vision saw
Of shipwreck on a golden strand
And boatswine - paddle in his hand.
While Norman Petty, quite sedate,
Would drink his beer at steady rate
And then, outside about a firkin
Would sing us 'Pretty Polly Perkin'
And all around, a faithful crowd
Of cavers would give out aloud
The litany of caving things
Which now no Mendip caver sings.
Well - some have not yet given up
And one or two of us will sup
And sing and chant and cave and climb
We haven't stopped: there isn't time!
And, as for songs, it's time we grew
And taught ourselves some ballads new.
The singing in the Pen-y-Gwryd
Last weekend was clear and fluid.
Let us that a model take
And mighty Mendip music make!

Tackle

The Tacklemaster wishes to appeal to all members to return tackle PROPERLY to the Tackle Store after use. This means washing it; stacking it away properly and signing it back in (after, of course, having signed it OUT when it was taken in the first place.)  The club are spending a large sum of money this year to get the club tackle up to strength and good condition.  This money - YOUR money will be largely wasted if the tackle is not looked after properly.

Belfry Charges

The Committee wish to announce that, owing to the rate of inflation and a forecast by the Treasurer that we should soon be 'in the red' at the old rates, Belfry charges have accordingly had to be raised as follows:-

Members - 25p per night. Guests - 35p per night.   Day Fees - 15p. Camping - 20p.


 

Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany

Compiled by 'Wig'

163.           Political Caving: Moves being discussed in the Regions and at national level indicate that the bureaucratic master minds are attempting to ham­string caving as we know it.  To keep members up to date, a précis of the various minutes received by the Hon. Sec. will be included in the next B.B. together with guidelines to be followed by your committee.

164.            Hobbs Quarries: Quarrymen are now working round the clock at Fairy Cave Quarry, thus making entry to the caves difficult.  It is suspected by various people that the Southern Face will be blasted back to the quarry boundary.  If this happens, W.L. Extension will be all but destroyed; Shatter First and Second Chambers will be badly shaken if not destroyed and Withyhill will be shorn of its decorations as far as Curtain Chambers.

165.           B.C.R.A. Conference, 1975: Manchester, 13-14 September venue,  Renold Building of University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.  Details later.

166.           B.C.R.A. Bulletin No 7: Latest French discoveries, chalk caves near Paris, extensions in Gravel Pot (Yorkshire), Caves of the Appian Alps ( Italy) Ghar Pavan Foundation (details) and accident at Gaping Ghyll (Report).

167.           Jonah is 70 years old!: An entry in a caving log for 1955, dated 30th August and written in Bryan Ellis's handwriting states, "On Feb.10th, 1975, 'Jonah' will be seventy years of age.  Meet at the Hunters.  Free beer all round."  Well, although we didn't see Jonah at the Hunters for our beer - in fact we'd be buying HIM pints - we'd like to offer our congratulations and hope to see him down on Mendip soon.  Incidentally, is Jonah the oldest member of the B.E.C.?

168.           New Surveys available at the Belfry: Surveys of FLOWER POT and LUDWELL CAVE are now available, price 10p each.  Both are printed by the offset process.  During April, surveys of SIDCOT and of WITHYHILL will also be available at about the same prices.

169.           B.C.R.A. Transactions: Volume No 4, December 1974 includes Single Rope Technique Caving; Lead/acid cap lamps; Resistivity over caves and a History of Yorkshire Karst Studies.  Also included is an index to volume 1.

170.           Subscription Rate:  Club subscriptions have been held steady since 1972 and Belfry fees since 1967. Belfry charges have had to be increased recently to cover increases in rates, insurance, electricity etc.  The costs of club administration are also rising, and with increased postal charges, a rise in the annual sub, seems inevitable.  Don't be surprised if next years sub is £3.  The committee are looking into the subject at the moment.

171.           Otter Hole:  In addition to Roy Bennett's article in the B.B. for December 1974 little is being reported in this column, interesting though the site is.  Just wait a while and buy your copy of Cave Notes later in the year!

172.           Swildons in Stereo!:  A fascinating half hour was recently spent by a few members viewing a stereoscopic drawing of Swildons Hole drawn by Mike Cowlinshaw.  Peering through the familiar red and green glasses, the illusion was remarkably realistic and it was illuminating to see the rise and fall of various parts of the system that, unfortunately, the extended elevation of the Stanton survey cannot show.  A real case, surely, for a projected elevation on the next issue of the survey.

173.           An Important Addition to the Library:  We are already blessed with a reasonable collection of C.D.G. records of the 1944 to 1950 vintage, but Tony Johnson's recent gift makes it even more impressive.  A large collection of newspaper cuttings, mainly of the Marriott death and explorations in Peak Cavern.  There is also ample coverage of the archaeological remains found in the Witch's Kitchen at Wookey Hole.  Also included in the file is a collection of press photographs (originals) of the Wookey archaeological exercise and the swimming pool training dives for Operation Vernon (the attack on sump 2 in Swildons.)  For older members, here are superb photographs of the young Hasell, Coase, Lucy, Setterington, Pain etc.  Copies of the photographs will be made and hung in the Belfry.  This file will be available to members for inspection only and our thanks are due to Tony for a very fine gift.  Any members having similar material are asked to consider giving it to the club library.


 

Travels in Africa

This article, by Colin Priddle, is perhaps appropriate to follow the notice about trips abroad on the last page.

Africa extends well over 2,000 miles either side of the equator, hence there is a vast area involving a great range of climate and geography that can be travelled. I can only write about the relatively small area in which we travelled and this area is probably the most often visited consisting of the countries of Kenya; Uganda; Tanzania; Malawi; Zambia and Rhodesia.

After enjoying six weeks in Greece, we hoped we would be partially adjusted to the climate we expected to find in Nairobi, less than a hundred miles from the equator.  As the plane was approaching Nairobi, the pilot reported that the temperature there was 13OC.  We immediately thought he had made a language mistake and really meant 30OC, but no! 13OC it was (55OF) and to us it was cold.  After the cold, the second thing to strike us was that everyone was black. After living in a white country all your life, then being suddenly confronted by black customs, medical, immigration and bank officers, it takes one by surprise.  The first thing to do in a strange place is always to find somewhere to sleep.  In Nairobi the large hotels are (as everywhere) too expensive for the average B.E.C. member.  The local hotels are the right price but pretty seedy.  The Youth Hostel, even though it was reputedly in the roughest area of East Africa, was very cheap and pretty clean.  What's more, there is a compound guard day and night and mixed sleeping is allowed.

Nairobi is a town of contrasts.  The centre is modern with tourist shops; banks; airline offices etc.  Life is slow. The layout of roads and signs are very English.  Traffic moves sedately, nobody bothers with car hooters and roads are easy to cross. One side of the town has beautiful parks with exotic flowers and trees.  The other side leads to packed streets with shoeshine boys and maize sellers. Shops are dark, with their wares (from spices to cloth) spreading out into the pavements.  Then comes the shanty town with corrugated iron huts, smoking braziers, roadside markets and roadside hairdressers.  The Youth Hostel was just between this area and the better African suburbs, being prefab type houses packed together.  The Youth Hostel is about twenty minutes walk or a 2p bus ride from the centre - in fact, you could walk anywhere in Nairobi quite easily - well, fairly easily.  The only thing against walking is the vast number of people also walking.

The Youth Hostel appeared to be for Europeans only and we found it a most useful place to pick up tips about travelling in the various countries and to get a good idea about where to stay.  One place not visited seemed to be Uganda, owing to the political and economic situation so, after a few days in Nairobi, we headed for the home of Sybil which happens to be in Uganda and about three hundred miles from Nairobi.

Tourists may only enter Uganda safely via the air port or the main road or rail link from Nairobi. We took the rail link - a twenty four hour trip, to be met at Iganga by Sybil.  We stayed a week, in which time we sampled African fare; visited African villages, visited Kampala, Jinja,  The Owen Falls dam and the source of the Nile, Lake Victoria, a leprosarium, a steelworks, a cotton factory and finally a concert by youngsters from a neighbouring school.  The concert was given especially for us and consisted of local singing, dancing and the playing of musical instruments.  Thanks to Sybil, we had a very memorable stay in Uganda and one of my memories will be of sitting in her garden among tropical plants and flowers watching the many colourful birds and butterflies.  During the time we were there, two monitor lizards three feet long and a troupe of monkeys also visited the garden.

We left the luxuriant beauty and heat of Uganda to head over the equator back to Nairobi and down to the Indian Ocean at Mombassa - a 15th century post. Beaches are super there - white sand, palm fringed with warm water reefs.  There are several cheap (£1.50 a night) hotels in Mombassa, but they are pretty rough.  We hitched to Morogoro in Tanzania - about a hundred miles inland from Dar-es-Salaam, and then we travelled by local bus to Mbeya and crossed the Tanzanian - Zambian border at Tundurna from whence we caught a bus to a village near the Zambian - Malawi border and we then had to walk about three miles through the bush to Chitipa on the Malawi border, and from there, buses took us after four days to Blantyre where we were able to wash; have a decent meal and get a plane to take us over Mozambique to our country of destination, Rhodesia.  It was a relief to be met by scenes of cleanliness, prosperity and white men.

There are several tips that we learned from our month or so of travelling in Africa, so I will pass them on under the following headings:-

Food: In Nairobi, Mombasa, Dar-es-Salaam it's plentiful.  Meat is cheap.  Six course meals in hotels cost under £1.  All other places cater only for the African and bread is not readily available. Peanuts, bananas, tomatoes, coco-nuts and ground maize is available (and cheap).  Ground maize is prepared by adding it to boiling water until a very thick paste is obtained.  It fills you up.

Water: In the above mentioned places, it is supposed to be O.K., but as a lot of the water is not too good, we used water purifying tablets all the time.

Health: Smallpox jabs are compulsory.  Typhoid and Cholera jabs are advised, as outbreaks are common. Anti-malarial pills are definitely required - only the higher areas being free.  Chloraquin or Deltaprin are the tablets - not Paludrine which our doctor in England prescribed.  (A senior Rhodesian malaria researcher told us this).  Although we did not need them, Lomitol ant-diarrhoea tablets, obtainable in England, were described to us by several people as 'wonderful'.  One tablet is sufficient to keep you out of African toilets which are usually foul.

Money: This can be quite difficult, as banks and exchange offices are not on borders and in large towns are only open in the mornings.  A supply of U.S. dollars or pound notes can then be useful.  In Nairobi, the black market is worth while, the safest bet being Asian shopkeepers, not Africans.  The African is also an expert on hard luck stories.

Travel: Trains are very slow (15 m.p.h. average) but a lot can be seen of the country.  A trip will generally mean an overnight ride, so go second class when you will get a bunk.  Men and women sleep in separate compartments (multiracial) although several times we were lucky as the conductor emptied a compartment for us saying "but this am Mister an' Missus."  One can travel third or fourth class.  It's cheaper by half, but things are squalid with hard seats and no bunks and packed with Africans.

You may think that I'm a bit snobbish by now, but the fact is that Africans are primitive by our standards.  They live in mud huts and their habits are far removed from those of Europeans. Seeing is believing.

Buses, are not plentiful or regular, but are cheap.  (6p for 10 miles); slow (20 m.p.h.) unreliable; packed; uncomfortable, dirty and dusty.  Sit as near the front as you can on dirt roads.  Getting tickets is a problem as they are limited due to demand.  Start queuing first or single out an official and the chances are that you will get preferential treatment.  One evening, we were told by the conductor to get on the bus when it was in the garage behind us.   A few more refined travellers, including a policeman had also done this, the reason being that there were about three hundred people waiting for this one bus outside.  They were six high trying to get through the door and fighting like animals.  I asked the policeman if he could do something but he replied "You can't do anything with these people." Hitching is easy on main roads (e. g. Nairobi to Mombassa) but there is not much traffic and none on the more minor roads. Lorry drivers want money and in any case are terrible drivers.  The number of wrecks and crashes we saw was unbelievable for the volume of traffic.

Accommodation, African hotels exist in most towns on main reads and have no merits except for cheapness.  Malawi and Zambia have rest houses which are good.  Communal sleeping costs 2½p and clean rooms 50p each.  Tanzania police stations are willing to put you up free and so are Seiki temples (not the one in Mombassa, which was too popular). Camping is generally O. K., but there are very few official sites. There are problems in going from country to country. Borders sometimes close for no apparent reason.

In black countries, never say you are going to South Africa or Rhodesia.  Don't point your camera at strategic objects such as railway bridges.  One chap we met had eight rolls of film poorly developed to prove that he wasn't a spy.

Editor's Note.     Colin includes some brief notes on the various countries he visited, but unfortunately space does not permit them to be included with the main article this month.  They will appear in the next B.B. for the benefit of future B.E.C. travellers to Africa.


 

A Word From Your Sponsors

The following has been received from Mike Palmer on of the Ian Dear Memorial Committee.

The time of year has again arrived when the I.D.M.F. committee would like to remind 'young' and deserving members that it would like to receive applications for grants as soon as possible.  There are definitely two (if not three) organised club trips to Europe this year all of which are likely to have a fair content of caving.

"What is that?" you may ask!  Well, it's one of the many diverse activities in which our club - your club seems to indulge in pretty continuously despite the many rumours that we (the royal one) gave up years ago.

The all-time record was set last year by no less than 3 applications, even though one of the persons had to back out at the last moment.  Because last years applications were all last minute affairs, it caused some mild flapping in the accounts department and required hasty meetings; let's have them early this year.  You have been warned!

In conclusion, I have listed below (or above or on the next page etc depending on the Editor!) the members of the I.D.M.F. Committee anyone of whom may be approached for details of the rules, method of application and odd general information.  They are as follows:-

'Sett', Mike Palmer, Andy Nichols, Gerry Oaten, Barrie (Scrooge) Wilton.  Let's be having you!


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 56

1

 

 

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Across:

1. Shortly concerning. (2)
2. Flowed slowly. (6)
7. Buried in Durham yet underground on Mendip? (8)
9. Diggers need this. (4)
10. Chamber. (4)
12. The answer to what happens to limestone? (8)
14. Exhibitor in high level G.B. passage? (6)
15. Exists. (2)

Down

1. Jumble of 1 and 9 across. (2)
3. Water sinks? (4)
4. Their cap – slowly dissolving perhaps. (8)
5. Part of extensive club motto. (2)
6. Erratics might have done this and got knocked off. (5,3)
8. A hundred and fifty in backward saint gives karst feature. (6)
11. Yorkshire butter containers. (4)
13. Half an expression of mirth or half a half. (2)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

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Y

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Club Headquarters

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

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

Members           C. Dooley, J. Dukes, C. Howell, D. Irwin, T. Large, A. Nicholls, G. Oaten, B. 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

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

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

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

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

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

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

Spares                               T. LARGE,  Address already given

MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY…Mrs A. DOOLET, c/o THE BELFRY. TO WHOM ALL SUBS SHOULD BE SENT.

MEMBERS ARE REMINDER THAT SUBS DUE ON JAN 31ST MUST BE PAID BY APRIL 30TH

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

 

QUODCUMQUE  FACIENDUM : NIMIS  FACIEMUS

Dates

Saturday March 1st    Climbing in the Pyrenees, an illustrated talk by ‘Kangy’ King.  7.30 p.m. at the Belfry

Easter,

            March 28th      Sleets Gill.

            March 29th      Pippikin.

            March 30th      Lancaster – Easegill

Editorial

Happy New Year

A very belated, but nevertheless well meant, Happy New Year to club members and all readers.  Owing to the usual series of mishaps, this B.B. - like the Christmas issue - is very late, but it is hoped that we will get back to sensible issue dates very shortly.

The B.B. in 1975

Only minor changes in layout are contemplated.  The list of club officers gets a full page, as many members have said how useful they find this repetitive but useful feature.  After a break for Christmas, both 'Round and About' and the regular monthly crossword re-appear.  Mike Wheadon has promised to write regularly on the social scene - for those members who like to know what is going on apart from caving. Incidentally, Mike is also hoping to be able to take over some of the production of the B.B. this year. One feature during the year will be a change of cover paper (not design).  It could not be introduced straight away, as its object is to save money - and this could not be done by throwing away our remaining stocks! Purists will, no doubt, be able to get spare covers if they want their years B.B. to look uniform.

Membership Secretary

The committee have voted Angie Dooley into this position.  She has not been co-opted.  All subs should be sent to The Membership Secretary, c/o The Belfry.

Albert Maine

The death of Albert Maine is reported in 'Round and About' (147).  In addition to what is said there, it might be appropriate to remember that the B.E.C. in particular owes Mr. Maine a debt of gratitude.  By allowing his barn to be used by cavers, he made it possible for many of the active – but homeless – post-war cavers to get to know each other and, as it so happened, to join the B.E.C.  By this means, we got members like the late Don Coase, ‘Sett’ – for many years the mainstay of the club on Mendip, ‘Pongo’ Wallis – one of the trustees of the Belfry and, unfortunately, your editor!

Tackle

We hear that the special committee, which the N.C.A. set up to look into tackle, is to recommend that standards be set up and that some sort of grant be sought for this exercise. While it is, perhaps, too early to react – since there will be some opportunity to discuss this at the next meeting of the Southern Council - there does seam be the beginning of a parallel between what I wrote in that article 'The future of Caving Clubs' and what is likely to actually happen.  During the year, we shall be publishing as much as we can sensibly get hold of on matters which could affect the control and future of caving and although it is perhaps a nuisance, we urge all cavers who care about the future of caving as we know it on Mendip to come along to meetings of the Southern Council and hear - and comment - on what is going on.  Four afternoons a year cooped up in Priddy Village Hall might prove a small price to pay for ensuring that caving goes the way that cavers want it to go!

Insurance and All That

Another ‘behind the scenes’ activity – this time in the direct interest of club members – is the meeting of the club sub-committee on matters affecting insurance.  The subject is being investigated at some depth – to make sure that we know where members stand in the event of a claim under the club’s insurance policy.  The information found and conclusions reached will be circulated to members as soon as this can be done.


 

Photographic Cave Surveying

A 'Chatty version' – according to the author, John Letheren of M.N.R.C. of a new technique which will be dealt with in greater detail in a future issue of 'Cave Notes'.

The general idea is to survey caves and mines quickly but with reasonable accuracy - much more accurately than 'sketch from memory' and much more quickly than with conventional surveying equipment.

The data required, from one point to the next, is range, bearing and elevation.  Range cannot be measured accurately with a photographic rangefinder as the angle subtended beyond a few yards is so small as to be quite un-measurable - so an alternative method is used.

The one hit on is to photograph something of known size, and measure the size of the image on the negative which, allowing for a small correction for focussing is inversely proportional to the distance of the object from the camera.  To take an extreme case, you could not measure the distance of the moon with a photographic rangefinder to better than 'between 30ft and infinity' but if you were to photograph the moon and measure the size of the image you could, knowing its diameter, find its distance to the same degree of accuracy as you could measure the diameter of the image, say to 1%. This then is the method used to measure range - although it is not necessary to know the dimensions of the object itself, only to compare it with an image taken at a known distance.

The device used consists of a horizontal wooden cross about ten inches each way with a vertical arm fixed to the centre of the cross also about ten inches high.  Each of these five arms (four horizontal and one vertical) has a small filament bulb at its end, and the measurements must be equal from bulb filament to bulb filament.  In addition there is an extra bulb on one arm to denote south.  This instrument, although we have built and used it, has as yet no name, but it is usually called the 'chandelier' for obvious reasons.  It is also fitted with a compass (used only to align the instrument - not for readings) and a spirit level tube on two of the horizontal arms for levelling.  The whole thing is mounted on a short tripod with a ball-joint head, and is connected by a short cable to a 6v. battery which stands on the ground near the tripod.  The camera is normally used with a 200rmn telephoto lens and is mounted on a longer tripod with a ball-joint head.  A 135mn lens would be adequate, but this is about the limit.

The survey team consists of one photographer and one chandelier setter.  The latter sets the chandelier level and north, and the former makes an exposure at 125th of a second at f8, giving no problems with either depth of focus or long exposure.  This records all the information needed to compute the range, bearing and elevation of the device relative to the camera or vice-versa. The camera is then moved to be ahead of the chandelier and the next exposure made, and so on.  The chandelier must be situated so that ALL the lamps are visible (quite easy in practice, although one must always consider the following shot as well as the one first being made) and in addition, the data is only valid if the camera is looking DOWN on the chandelier.  Reverse shots (i.e. those where the camera is looking back along the direction of surveying) are readily distinguished from forward shots by including a caving lamp in the corner of the picture for reverse shots. You then leapfrog wherever possible, keeping the camera always above the chandelier.  At the end of each traverse, one frame is marked with a close-up of the nearest caving lamp for identification purposes, and the survey then continues for the next section or traverse.

Providing one has sufficient cheap black-and-white film, that is all you have to do underground and it takes approximately one minute per leg.  The rest is done at home.  The film is developed and the negative set up (mount each frame in a cardboard frame which is numbered) and each picture (which is, of course, a series of black dots - it being a negative) is projected, square on, to a sheet of paper and the dots marked on the paper.  The first slide must be a reference shot of the chandelier taken from a measured distance.  This allows for the magnification of the projector etc. and is used as the basis for calculating range.  It need hardly be said that the shots are numbered on the sheets of paper also and that reverse shots are distinguished from forward shots.  The spacing between the North-South and East-West lamps are then measured (the units are irrelevant) and also the height from the centre to the top lamp.  Finally, all the data is shovelled into a handy computer (or calculator, which is quite feasible, but tedious) and out pops a survey.  In the computer programme I have written, each section is entered as either' 'open' or 'closed' and if closed, the computer recalculates the points to adjust out the closing error.

I will not deal with the mathematics here, as that is destined for a separate publication in the future. Nevertheless, the system is working, although a lot more experience is required.  Even so, it really does take only one minute per shot.

In the meantime, anyone thinking of trying out the method is welcome to the very simple details of the instrument and the mathematics.  It is quite feasible to use an electronic calculator if a computer is not available, but the latter is much quicker. I would like to close by thanking John Richardson (M.N.R.C.) for a good many trials (in both senses of the word) in the Coombe Down Mines to get the system working.

Editor's Note:     I have seen a closed traverse done by this method, the actual traverse being DRAWN by the computer as well as being calculated by it.  At present, this method is not as accurate as conventional accurate surveying methods, but its interest lies in its automated nature. With hand calculators of computer like complexity becoming available, one might be able to replace the camera with a TV camera and feed the dots straight in as electrical signals; store all the information in the hand computer; feed it, into a computer with a graphics attachment once outside the cave, and just wait for it to draw the survey! Perhaps we should run a 'Tomorrow's World' programme in the B.B.!


 

Christmas 1974

Following the write up on the club dinner, Mike Wheadon keeps us up-to-date on the social scene with this account of Christmas.

Following the success of the 1974 club dinner, a group of members decided to dine out for Christmas. Unfortunately further extensive enquiries incontrovertibly showed that the only hotels where a booking could be made were over the hill as regards cost.  Fortunately for the group, Patti Palmer is not without influence in certain catering circles and persuaded her brother (our club dinner chef) to attempt a repeat performance for our gathering at the Belfry.

On Christmas Eve, the residents started to gather at the Belfry and, at random times and for no apparent reason, seemed to be drawn to the Hunters where they were joined by other members intent on getting in a bit of elbow bending.  Drawing a discreet veil over such activities, some of the group got back to the Belfry at closing time to complete the decorations already started by Angie Dooley.  The motif was 'stars and bats' (Bertie of course) and in a short time everything that didn't move was suitably decorated.  A Christmas tree was produced and trimmed, the barrels tidied up, and presto! One completely transformed Belfry, which was quickly re-transformed when Angie received a stock whip for her first Christmas present.

On Christmas Day, the company gradually assembled at the local hostelry for a few aperitifs before eating.  The first to appear were the residents, Angie and Colin Dooley, John Dukes and Widley, Ken James, Andy Nichols, Keith Newbury (seeking temporary civilisation away from another club) then Keith Murray, Alan and Hilary followed closely by Mike and Maureen Wheadon, Zot, Jen, Mike and Patti.  Having been thrown out at closing time all adjourned to the Belfry where Patti organised setting up the boards.  By now, we were surrounded by Palmers and Laws (the chef's) children - Graham, Simon, Sarah, Cheryl, Kirstine and of course, Teresa.  With the tables set up, the Belfry looked like some baronial hall and all we had to do was to await the arrival of the food.  Fortunately there were a couple of barrels to take the edge off the waiting

Later, Arthur (the chef) arrived and his wife Judi who joined us for dinner, and in no time we were all seated at the table imbibing sherry as a prelude to: - Minestrone soup; Prawn cocktail; Turkey and/or Roast Beef with potatoes, sprouts etc., a choice of sweets including Guinness Trifle (for John W.) Christmas Pudding and such then cheese and biscuits and later - Gaelic Coffee and Mince Pies.  There were copious draughts of Red Rose or White wine to ease the meal on its way and after a couple of hours, a very replete company were settled round the 'Centre of the Universe' being entertained by the children displaying their multitude of presents.  Meanwhile, Arthur had performed a minor miracle and cleared the tables and washed up.  He was then persuaded to force down a couple of pints of beer, after which he went to sleep for a couple of hours.  General lethargy had now set in and was briefly lifted when Chris Batstone arrived. However, after several pints he too succumbed to the general lethargy.  A few bods from other clubs appeared briefly and later Brenda and Barrie Wilton (who had intended to dine with us but were forced into other plans) joined the gathering.  Eventually there was a move to totter up to the Hunters which some of us achieved. The others stayed behind to watch T.V. which had been brought up so that the children could be entertained (They didn't bother with it - they watched the B.E.C. instead.)

Boxing Day saw a very jaded collection of Belfry residents, and only the offer by Mike P. to buy them a round persuaded them to stagger to the Hunters for a lunchtime drink.  When the first round came up, Keith Murray swallowed his whole and demanded that all drink up so that he could buy another round.  At this stage, Chris Batstone, not wishing to be left out, swallowed his pint that Keith had just bought him and called a third round.  Thinking that closing time was approaching, each of the remainder of the group bought rounds as quickly as they could.

Matters were by now well out of control, and Alan Thomas and Arthur Laws joining the company didn't help very much since they too insisted on buying rounds and in no time at all the trestle table in the bar had about 40 pints on it all wishing to be drunk. Roger then announced that there was an extension until 2.30 p.m. and it was later calculated that the eight people had, by closing time, put away 125 pints of beer in one and a half hours. Having been thrown out (again) the company decided that it would be a good time to visit the Wessex to spread a bit of Christmas cheer and scrounge coffee.  For some reason or other, the Wessex were not overjoyed to see our gathering and were even more unimpressed when Mike P., with Angie's assistance, attempted to drain their barrel in one draught.  We did not get any coffee.

Boxing Day again saw the company gathered at the Hunters, re-living the past glorious lunchtime and demonstrating how the battle was fought.  At closing time we adjourned to the Belfry where Arthur and Patti organised a bubble-and-squeak supper which was followed by two slide shows - one by Mike P. showing the B.E.C. in the Pyrenees with Patti in various poses leaning on various bods, and a few caving slides (every picture tells a story) and the other show by Keith Newbury showing the laughing, smiling Wessex in various revolting poses (literally).  On this note ended Boxing Day.

The next event in the Christmas Calendar was Wig's bottle party which took place at the Wiggery on Sunday evening.  One point to note here was the perfect reproduction of the Rolling Stones on the hallowed hi-fi.

Strictly speaking, we have now ended the Christmas festivities, but I feel that New Years Eve was well worth a mention.  This was a SINGING evening with even more of the 'golden oldies' like Norman Petty, Alan and Carol Sandall Tom and Rusty, Joyce and Pete Franklin etc.  Although at some times the words seemed to go astray, and even Chris Batstone got them wrong - although he claimed it was the fault of the beer - it lasted until the witching hour and the traditional Auld Lang Syne in the road, after which a merry evening finally broke up.


 

Caves and Mines of Southern Wiltshire

An article by Andy Sparrow which perhaps supports the old adage 'Caves are where you find them'.

About fifteen miles west of Salisbury is an area of Portland and Purbeck rocks including several types of limestone.  The Salisbury Caving Group first inspected the area in 1972 and focussed its attentions on the Chilmark area where stone has been mined and quarried for hundreds of years.  Unfortunately, like so many other stone mines, the armed forces had put them to use and access was not possible.  Research showed that several mines extended at least three hundred feet into the valley side.

Up valley from this restricted area is a small wood in which we found a roomy mine entrance becoming too low after only twenty feet.  Thus defeated, we paid little attention to the area until February 1973, when I managed to gain access through a small, tight hole nearby, into a chamber and roomy passage.  Returning a week later with Rich Websell, we explored about a thousand feet of passage and named the find Chilmark Stone Mine.  Tiny decorated natural rifts are broken into in several places, and at one point a roof collapse has formed a sporting boulder ruckle.  Although the survey shown is only a Grade 1 sketch, a high grade survey has been begun by the S.C.G.

Later in 1973, we investigated another site a few miles to the west at Fonthill Gifford. Study of a 2½" O.S. map revealed an old quarry in a wood by a long artificial ornamental lake.  Our first investigation of the wood revealed more mines, this time with large, imposing entrance chambers.  However, they extended only fifty feet back into the hillside.  A subsequent inspection revealed a high natural rift with jammed boulders and a small choked tube with an airspace.  A start has been made excavating this.

Having located the small quarry shown on the map, we were interested to find several natural boulder-choked rifts.  Digging at one small pile of rubble quickly revealed a small tube blocked by a chert outcrop. This was later hammered away and the tube entered, but it got too tight after only six feet.

In June, Rich Websell and myself turned our attention to the largest rift in the quarry - about ten feet high and eight feet wide, thoroughly boulder-choked with some overhanging boulders balanced at the top.  We found a likely hole in the bottom left-hand corner and started digging away vast quantities of rocks and sand.  We soon uncovered a U-tube under an unsupported boulder, and after a little more digging, this hideously tight squeeze was passed.  Beyond, was twelve feet of roomy crawl between boulders ending in another choke, which we decided it was safer not to push.

In September we returned again and decided to enlarge a tiny passage visible behind the poised boulders at the top of the choke.  These were easily removed by tying a rope round them and pulling from below. Progress was then rapid and after digging out the floor for six feet we uncovered the top of a rift nine inches wide, widening visibly below.  Two more digging trips were made before this was passed, the next one being rather interesting since the entire right-hand wall of the dig collapsed - sending diggers scuttling in all directions as boulders tumbled after them.  In fact, this collapse proved a great help, since it made the new rift much more accessible.  When we returned, only a small amount of work was necessary before I was able to insert myself, feet first, into the rift and slowly worm my way down.

After a considerable effort I managed to get my chest through, while my feet kicked about in thin air with no indication of how far beneath me the floor was.  To my unspeakable relief, the floor proved to be only about seven feet beneath the squeeze, and I dropped into a section of fluted rift passage between boulder chokes.  The choke behind me proved to connect with the ten foot crawl, while a crawl beneath the other choke soon became too low.  A start has been made connecting the two caves so as to facilitate further digging.  They are obviously two parts of the same rift passage, to which we have been given the name of Ammonite Rift, after a fine example of that fossil just inside the lower entrance.

Anyone foolish enough to wish to visit this most unusual cave or Chilmark Stone Mine is advised to get in contact with me, or other members of the Salisbury Caving Group.

Editor's Note: Andy's address is: - 2 Bounds Green Road, Bounds Green, London N.11.


 

Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany

Compiled by 'Wig'

139.      January 31st.  Does this date mean anything to you?  It should! Subscriptions are now due.  £2.50 for full members, £3.50 for Joint members and £1.75 for Junior members.  Send your subscriptions to The Membership Secretary, c/o The Belfry Wells Rd, Priddy , Somerset.

140.      Alan Williams.  Does anyone know his address?  His B.B's have been returned from his Newport address.

141.      Swildons Hole.  The W.C.C. book will be added to the library as soon as it is published.  Invitations to purchase a copy are now open to non-Wessex members.  Price £12 (leather bound) and £9 (Rexine bound).  Orders to Phil Davies, Wessex Cave Club, Upper Pitts, Priddy, Somerset.

142.      Club Publications.  A full range is kept at the Belfry and obtainable from the Hut Warden.  Those buying through the post should obtain copies through Chris Howell, 131 Sandon Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.  Please add 10p for packing and postage.

143.      Belfry Lectures.  Following Kangy's lecture and later in March, Chris Hawkes will be talking on Archaeological finds in caves.  How to remove them; when to leave them to specialists and some notes on the Westbury Bone Fissures.

144.      EGONS exchange.  The latest exchange of magazines is with the Exploration Group of North Somerset.  A basically chatty club journal with an alert eye on the political situation in the regional bodies.  On this subject, the Wessex Journal has reprinted a. paper by Roger Sutcliffe on the history of the Northern Council and the reasons for their decision to allow access only to members and associate member clubs.  Incidentally, recent issues of the Wessex Journal have included a serial written by Fred Davies on the Cowsh Aven epic.  Though written in the usual Davies style - concise yet humorous - did it really need to be that long (at least six parts)?

145.      From other journals.  The latest 'Sottoterra1 (no 37) includes reports on the Bologna Club discoveries. The Cambridge U.C.C. Journal for 1974 includes a report of their 1973 Pyrenees expedition. The B.C.R.A. bulletin includes details of the Quaking Pot extension and details of the Gar Parau Foundation constitution.  Plymouth Caving Group Journals Nos 56 - 59 are now in the library, as is the latest U.B.S.S. Proceedings (Reviewed in this B.B.).

146.      News from members abroad.  Colin Priddle has sent us an article for the B.B. and Sybil is likely to be back in England in April this year.

147.      Farmer Maine. There can be few members of the club who do not know farmer Maine.  I am very sorry to have to report that following an illness which necessitated his being taken to Wells Cottage Hospital just before Christmas, he died in January this year.  The funeral, at Priddy Church on the 18th of January, was attended by representatives of many Mendip caving clubs.  At his own request, there were no flowers, but he asked for donations to Priddy Church, to which the club has responded.  It was. perhaps, Maine's example of friendly and helpful co-operation between landlord and caver that may well have laid the foundation for the generally good relations that have existed on Mendip in this respect.

148.      Donations to the Library.  Our thanks to Garth, Andy Nichols, Tim Large and others for donations to the club library. Incidentally, there are a number of library lists for sale at the Belfry price 10p.  A valuable aid to those who want to study the contents of the club library at their leisure.

149.      Cave notes 1974.  Is out! The material includes two new surveys of Mendip caves (Ludwell and Flowerpot, Hollowfield) and notes relating to cave surveying.  A well at Bathford.  Trespass problems.  Sea Caves of North Devon.  28 pages, price 3Op.  Only 100 copies are available, so get your order to Chris Howell NOW before they run out.

149.      Shower Improvements.  John Dukes and Pat Cronin have modified the shower system at the Belfry by alteration of the wiring system.  This allows the Hut Warden to arrange for the tanks to be on throughout the weekend, enabling cavers to have showers without having to wait.

150.      Lifelines.  Graham Wilton-Jones is ordering a new supply of lifelines to replace those that we have in service at the moment.

151.      Sub-Committee meets.  The first meeting of the sub committee set up by this year’s committee following questions raised by the A.G.M. met at Alfie's on the 22nd of January.  Many questions were raised and all members are investigating various aspects of the problem.  The real point that became clear very soon after discussion began is that the simple questions asked at the A.G.M. are really extremely complex. It can also be noted, without speaking out of turn, that our third party liability cover is not all it could be.  The sub-committee meets again on April 9th 1975 at Alfie’s.  Members who were present at the first meeting were Alfie, Andy Nichols, Joan Bennett, Bob White and Wig.

152.      Withyhill Survey.  This survey is now completed and at the printers for photo-reduction.  Copies will be available at the Belfry in the very near future.  The survey notes will appear in the February B.B.

153.      Increased Postal Rates.  It seems likely that some discussion will take place during the year regarding the monthly posting of the B.B. to members.  The present postal expenses of £80 are heavy enough, but when the 5p postage becomes effective, the postal bill for the B.B. will increase to about £115 per year and will be as great as the full production cost (assuming no donations of papers etc.)  Members who can collect their B.B. from Barrie or Mike Palmer are asked to do so whenever possible. The hand delivery system will have to be improved if a monthly delivery is to continue.  Another scheme would involve members paying an. additional 18p to their subscription to cover the increase.  Think about it, and any other scheme and let the editor know.


 

Book Review

U.B.S.S. Proceedings Vol 13, No 3. September 1974.

The U.B.S.S. Proceedings, an annual publication, may occasionally lose in topicality, but that is more than made up for by the thoroughness and detail of the contents. The 1974 volume is well up to the U.B.S.S.’s traditional standard.

The reports are split equally between archaeological and speleological work.  The archaeological articles deal excavations on the river terraces at Ham Green, Bristol and in a quarry at Holly Lane, Clevedon (both rather specialised subjects) also work on the Roman settlement at Charterhouse done in the 1960's and an excellent paper by Bishop on the Middle Pleistocene deposits in a bone fissure in Westbury quarry.  The paper is an interim one since work continues, but there is already evidence that Westbury may be the earliest recorded site of man in Britain.

The caving section begins with two recently explored caves in county Clare - McGarin's Cave and Formoyle East Cave - both comparatively insignificant, but models of thorough writing up.  The account of Manor Farm Swallet (Stanton and Smart) is admittedly a year after the event, but material is new.  There is a small but well set out grade 5 survey.  The report of the 1973 expedition to Yugoslavia however, is a great disappointment through no fault of the Society's.  The Yugoslav government's decision to ban foreigners from all but show caves meant that any exploration had to be in remote areas with no organised local contact. You can hardly expect success under these conditions.

The two dozen or so photographs, plans and illustrations spread about the 1Q7 pages are all of a high standard.  At £1.50 a copy it may be a little expensive for the average caver, but essential to a club library.

B.E.C. Ball Pens.

A limited quantity of Ball Pens are now available.  These are stamped BRISTOL EXPLORATION CLUB on one side and have THE BELFRY, PRIDDY TEL: WELLS 72126 on the other.  They are made by the Harris Pencil Co and are retractable with a toughened ball and detachable handle.  They are available in red, blue and black, the pen colour being the same as the ink inside.  Price only 5p each.  At present these are held by Alfie, but arrangements will be made to have them available at the Belfry if demand warrants it.

Don't forget that surveys; B.E.C. Caving reports (Including the first edition of CAVE NOTES); spares and library lists are all available at the Belfry.  Arrangements are in hand for further supplies of car badges and club ties.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 53

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Across:

1. Crumpled by boulders, perhaps. (7)
6. Water was once the Forty in Swildons. (5)
7. Definitely not on! (3)
8. Rare vests used to find ways. (9)
10. Green not far from belfry. (3)
11. Valleys or holes. (5)
13. Tugs on rope – or whistles for them. (7)

Down

2. Later addition to Mendip mineshafts, perhaps. (3)
3. Griddled – a way to great things in G.B. (6,3)
4. Could describe water or rock structures underground. (5)
5. Puts another detonator in – or decides that it’s too risky? (7)
6. The Loop, perhaps? – No, it’s further north than G.B. (7).
9. ..and, if roofed over, they become these. (5)
12. Cavers body? (1,1,1)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

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Solution to Andy Nichols' S Christmas Crossword Puzzle

 

Solution To Alan Thomas's Christmas Puzzle

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Club Headquarters

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

Club Committee

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

Members           C. Dooley, J. Dukes, C. Howell, D. Irwin, T. Large, A. Nicholls, G. Oaten, B. 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

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

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

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

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

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

B.B. Postal                        BRENDA WILTON  Address as for Barry

Spares                               T. LARGE,  Address already given

MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY…Mrs A. DOOLEY, c/o THE BELFRY.

TO WHOM ALL SUBS SHOULD B SENT.  SUBS NOW DUE!!