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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.

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tele: WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     To be appointed.
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; M.J. Palmer; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; R. Orr, N. Taylor, B. Wilton, M. Bishop

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. THOMAS, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. BAGSHAW, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Asst. Treas.      B. WILTON, 27 bVenus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol.
Caving Sec:       T.E. LARGE, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 27 Quantock Rd, Windmill Hill, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
Hut Warden:      R. ORR.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Assit H.W.        N. TAYLOR, Whiddon, Chilcote, Somerset.  Tel. WELLS 72338.
Hut Engineer:    M. BISHOP, (Acting)  Address to follow..
Tacklemaster:    M.A PALMER. 27 Roman Way, Paulton, BS18 5XB
B.B. Editor:       S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tel: PRIDDY 369.
Pbs. (Sales)      C, Howell, 131 Sandon Rd., Edgbaston, Birminham.
Publications:     D.J. IRWIN.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

MENDIP RESCUE ORGANISATION.  In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481


 

Editorial

Yer Actual

When the B.B. which was numbered 300 came out, we said that, owing to the fact that editors cannot count, it was not the 300th B.B. and that when this actually did occur, we would let readers know.

The B.B. you now hold is the 300th issue to have been published since number 1 came out in January 1947.  At the risk of being contradicted, we make the claim that no other British caving magazine or journal has reached this lofty total and the B.E.C. is, naturally, first in this matter.

This impressive total has not been achieved solely by the efforts of its editors.  (In order of first appearance; Dan Hasell, Harry Stanbury, Ken Dobbs, Don Coase and John Shorthose, Alfie Collins and Dave Irwin). A succession of willing printers, distributors and - above all - authors, have all been indispensable to our having reached this landmark and our hearty thanks, as club members, should go to all.

Since the City and County of Bristol are currently celebrating their 600th anniversary of being granted a Royal charter making them a separate county for ever ¬which celebration seems to me to be a bit like the condemned man eating a hearty meal before his pending execution - we thought that a more modest celebration of our own in these pages might be excused by readers on the occasion of our 300th issue.  This will be found under the title of 'B.B. 300' - for which the editor begs your pardon in advance.

“Alfie”

Rhino Rift

….the easy way!

Here, at last, is an account of a trip in this cave - the first to be published in the B.B. since John Corn¬well discovered it!  Thanks to John Hunt, who wrote this account.

Many weekends of abseiling and prussicking at Split Rock Quarry, Wells, culminated on Easter Saturday evening, when Pete Palfrey and myself went to Rhino Rift for a quick look round. 

Although we had taken enough rope, we intended to get the cave in perspective and return the next day and bottom it.

The first problem we encountered was the difficulty in dragging the quantity of rope through the entrance wriggles.  On arrival at the First Pitch, we started the time-consuming job of untangling the rope and - after listening warily to the time lapse in sound of a stone thrown down - descended the First Pitch.

This proved to be awe-inspiring, especially as the second half is practically free and gives one the impression of being inside a huge cylinder.

We then promptly set up the second rope of fifty feet and abseiled down to the head of the Seventy Foot Pitch.  At this point we decided to call it a day and return later, as we had by now obtained a good idea of the cave.  We promptly made our way out and dashed to the pub.

Here, we discussed more suitable methods and decided to place all the ropes in a large kitbag in the order that they would be used.  The next day, we returned to the cave but due to a heavy rainstorm we decided that it was not even worth getting out of the car and so we returned to a good fester instead.

Monday morning was brighter, so once again we set off.  As soon as we had entered the cave, the ease with which the ropes could now be carried became evident, and we quickly arrived at the First Pitch.  After some initial searching, we found a place nearer to the edge where the rope could be attached.  We soon reached the top of the Seventy and attached the rope to a rather insecure-looking rawlbolt by means of a krab and abseiled to the loose boulders at the bottom.  Here we sat eating chocolate before I set off down a thrutchy passage to the head of a stalled up pitch of eighteen feet.  Having climbed half way down and looked around, I returned to the Seventy Foot Pitch and followed Pete out.  We rolled up the ropes, climbed around the fixed rope at the top and had a look at the so-called 'Satanic Walk' and one or two pretties at the head of the First Pitch before returning to the surface in a total time of two hours.

We both used very similar equipment - mine being a home made sit harness and Peter’s a Whillars harness with the added luxury of a closed foam back.  We both used clog figure-of-eight descendeurs and clog prussicking aids.

The ropes used were; for the first pitch 100 feet of braided number 3, for the second pitch 50 feet of hawser laid nylon number 4 and for the third pitch 120 feet of hawser laid nylon number 4.  The first rope was terylene incidentally.  Although terylene braided rope would have been far preferable on the fifty foot second pitch, as it is free for thirty feet and is very difficult to stop spinning on.


 

Recent Additions to the Library.

M.N.R.C. Newsletter No 69 The Pennine Way ( Oldham)

Caves of Wales and the Marches (Second Edition)

ULSA reviews numbers 3,4, and 11

Chelsea S.S. Newsletters Vol 1 complete, Vol 15 nos 1-6

S.M.C.C.J ournal Series 5 number 4

W.C.C. Journal Nos 145 and 146.

Red Rose Cave and Pothole Club Newsletter Vol 10 no 1

Grampian S.S.  A bibliography of technical articles.

Exeter D.S.S. newsletter Vol 9 No 1

B.E.C. Caving Log - St. Cuthbert’s           6.1.70 - 8.7.72

                                                            14.7.72 - 31.12.72

                                    - General             3.8.71 - 15.7.72

                                                            8.12.69 - 22.8.71

                                                            15.7.72 - 3.1073

British Caver No 60

Caves of the Avon Gorge Pt 1

Misc collection of postcards (in album )

Yorkshire, 1934 - 1937.Personal logs of F.P. Longbottom.

Caving - E.A. Baker (Reprint 1972)

Bristol Poly. C.G. Newsletter Vol 1 number 2 

U.B.S.S. Proceedings Vol 5 No 2 (1943)

The Climber - misc numbers.

D.S.S. Journals Nos 112.113.

C.T.S. (International) 1972 and 1973 pt.

C.R.G. Transactions Vol 15 numbers 1 and 2

            Newsletter No 133

            Technical aids in caving symposium (papers)

Spelio Scientia ( Belgium) Vol 2 No 3

D.I.S. Bulletin 1973, 1 (7)

B.C.R.A. National Conference 1973 programme.

Die Hoble Vol 24, Nos 1 and 2.

Cerberus S.S. Newsletter No 32

New Climbs 1966 (2 copies) 1969 and 1970

Ben Nevis and Glencoe winter climbs

Hill walking in Snowdonia

Climbing Guides to Wales Nos 3,4,6 and 8

Alpine Guidebooks No 3 Dolomites.

Axbridge C.G. Newsletter Mar, June, July 1973.

¼" Bartholomew maps of England and Wales.

 

Our thanks should go to the following people for their donations to the library: - Chris Howell; Dave Irwin; Nigel Jago and Kangy King who have all given items for the club collection.


 

B.B. 300

A light hearted account of the impact of the B.B. on one club member - and possibly vice versa.

On a freezing cold day in January 1947, an intriguing looking collection of folded paper dropped through the letterbox of my lodgings in London.  On opening it, I found that it was a thing calling itself the Belfry Bulletin, Volume I Number 1 - edited by one Dan Hasell (Whom I had heard of but not then met) and published by the Bristol Exploration Club (which I had just joined). This was my first contact with the B.B. (and vice versa) but not - entirely due to my own stupidity - my last.

During the following months, I got into the habit of awaiting its delivery with some interest - for I was marooned in London and (believe it or not!) dead keen to lay my hands on anything connected with caving.  Mostly, the B.B. arrived as expected and hoped for, although sometimes the odd month would go by without one.  Still, it had eight issues behind it by the time its first birthday came round and it looked as though, with any luck, it might go on.

Much the same happened the next year.  It came nearly every month with only the months of February and April disregarded by the management - presumably because Feb, was too short a month to count and April took them by surprise by coming so soon after March.  Then - just as the thing was becoming a familiar part of the scenery in my lodgings - the B.E.C. played one of those typical tricks designed to help its members keep on their toes by suddenly changing the shape of the thing and thus making it impossible to keep the copies in a neat pile on the bedroom chest of drawers.  As if to compensate for this, it now came out regularly every month - as indeed it was to do without a break for the next 35 issues.

For a club member exiled far from Mendip (and in those days; what with a six day working week; no private cars or bikes worth speaking about and no money to risk the overcrowded public transport, London was a very long way from Mendip.)  This regular appearance of the B.B. was a greatly appreciated event.  Each issue was carefully read as being the next best thing to actually being able to be on Mendip.  From its pages I learned of new caves and of new (to me) cavers.  Some of these I never managed to meet but felt that if I had, I would have known them through the B.B.  Of course, members were still coming back to Mendip from the war.  For instance, in B.B. number 13 I read:-

'We are delighted to welcome back into circulation again D. Bessell; R.A. Crocker and R.J. Bagshaw, all recently demobbed.'

Who, I wondered, were D. Bessell; R.A. Crocker and R.J. Bagshaw?  I never did meet the first two to my knowledge, but the last one does seem vaguely familiar.

Other statements echo down through the years like the hardy perennials they are.  For example; 'Cleaning up the Belfry is done by the same old regulars.  It is time the other perishers did their share.' 1970? 1962?  No, that one was printed in 1948.  Similarly, one read that 'The B.B. is, as always, in urgent need of material.'  It could have any year but was, in fact, 1952.

Even so, it was largely the B.B. that made me want to move from London to where the action was - and when at last I managed to do this, the B.B. was 37 issues old.  Now my news could be obtained at first hand - which was just as well because the B.B. was about to experience the first of the two major crises in its history to date (not counting, of course, the continual crisis caused by its present editor.)

Early 1951, the B.E.C. went through a rather drastic shake up in its management and the B.B., which had passed into the editorship of Harry Stanbury some way along the line, got caught up in the re-shuffle following Harry's resignation from the committee.  Don Coase and Johnny Shorthose stepped valiantly but reluctantly into the breach and somehow kept the B.B. going for London against fearsome odds.  One of the more intriguing results of this was the mystery of B.B. number 48, which should have been that for June 1951.  As far as I know, not a single copy of this issue exists, and it is generally assumed never to have existed; yet the following B.B. (Desperately entitled No 49/50 for July/August 1951) apologises for the late appearance of number 48.  Anyone owning a copy of 48 could, presumably make his or her fortune - or at least the price of a pint or two.

Don and Shorty struggled gamely on, but in February 1952 disaster finally struck.  Shorty had to move to Scotland from whence, in those days, even the B.E.C. would have found it difficult to run the B.B. while Don was about to become married and, presumably, had other things to think about. Ken Dobbs (otherwise known as Caxton) who had been printing the B.B. in Bristol, himself edited the next three editions as a temporary measure and, when it seemed that the B.B. was going to founder through the lack of someone to edit it, Harry Stanbury came forward again and offered to do it.  The committee accepted this offer, and the crisis was over.  Once more, the B.B. came out regularly.  In fact, it never missed a single month for - you've guessed it! - 35 issues.  There seemed to be some law of nature which prevented any longer run.

Going back to when I lived in London, I wrote an article for the B.B. but the editor - very sensibly - lost it (working no doubt on the basis that once he started publishing stuff by me, there would be no knowing where it might end.)  However, in 1952 or so, a number of us younger members (yes, I know it sounds odd, but this was 1952 after all!) decided that we would try to liven up the B.B. a bit and to our surprise, some of our stuff actually got accepted.

The B.B. in those days consisted of six pages of quarto as a general rule but in December 1952 we got a 12 page B.B. complete with decorative black and white cover by Tony Johnson.  On a rather different note, B.B. number 71 had the distinction of being the only B.B. to have one side of one page printed upside-down.  Part of a letter which I had written to the editor was, of course, on this upside-down page.

In December 1953, we had a 16 page B.B. with coloured cover and the B.B. seemed to be going from strength to strength.  This tradition of larger issues for Christmas became a regular thing and, when the larger edition for December 1955 was immediately followed by another large edition in January 1956 to mark the 100th issue of the B.B., everything seemed set for the dreaded 35 issue barrier to be broken at last.  Somewhat naturally, this was the cue for another crisis.

For various reasons, the quality of print in the B.B had been getting worse, and it had often been quite difficult to read some of the copies.  As a result, some of the people who wrote regularly for it, wrote less often and said that if the club wanted a readable magazine, then it ought to spend some money on better equipment and fork out for a printed cover like the Wessex Journal had.  Others said that there was little point in doing all this because people did not write for it as they once had.  As a result of all this, no B.B. at all was published between May and September 1956, the longest gap in the B.B.’s appearance there has ever been.  There were even some people who said that the B.B. had outlived its usefulness now that nearly all members could get to Mendip easily if they wished, and that the B.B. should be wound up.  Before anything so drastic actually happened, an A.G.M. came along, and several of us went to it determined to see that the B.B. continued.

Of course, I see now where we made our mistake.  It was, one thing to go to the A.G.M. to make sure that several, other people worked hard to improve the B. B.  It was quite another thing when the four of us - Bob Price, 'Spike' Rees, Dave England and myself, found that we had been saddled with it and given the resounding title of  'B.B. Editorial Board'.

It took us until March to produce our first B.B. - with a printed cover and much heartbreak with the duplicator.  The club in those days had an old Ellam's model which we were convinced that some enterprising member had stolen from the Science Museum. It used to take us a whole evening to print six pages with a circulation of about 120.  One of us would turn the handle while the other three sorted out sheets which the machine had condescended to print from sheets it had blithely ignored.  We then counted the ones with print on and fed all the rest back into the machine for another go.  We often needed six or seven goes per page before we got the number printed that we wanted.

Somehow, using this system, we managed to print a 20 page issue that Christmas with a rather fine linocut cover by Daphne Stenner, and staggered on into 1958.  With 32 issues behind us, and every chance of breaking the notorious 35 issue barrier, disaster struck yet again November 1959. After a long and frustrating evening, we finally surveyed the scene of utter chaos; pushed our through the piles of scrap paper which lay everywhere and retired to the nearest pub.  The duplicator had had it.

With Christmas coming along, we reviewed the situation over a number of pints.  As the blood content of our alcohol streams steadily dropped, our schemes got progressively bolder.  We decided that we would somehow manage one last issue on the old machine and then go in for a complete face-lift again.  This would involve the use of a new typewriter; an electric Gestetner machine which we would hopefully borrow time on from B.A.C.; a new cover, different size of paper and centre stapling.  That, we agreed, as we slid slowly under the table would make up for the loss of the November issue.

Surprisingly enough, it actually worked.  The new cover design was easily settled.  We asked members what they would like and they said “A cover like the Wessex Journal”. We thought personally that a cover saying WESSEX CAVE CLUB would look a bit odd wrapped round a B.B., but gradually we got round to understanding what our members meant and so we came by a copy of the Wessex Journal by devious means and studied its cover carefully. Since it was a two colour motif on a white background, we decided that ours must be a THREE colour motif on a white background.  This ambit¬ious scheme was a trifle marred by the fact that the three colours either overlapped or failed to meet each other and that the bat had a face like a pig. Its resemblance to various members of the editorial board was freely commented on by members of the B.E.C.

I got permission to use the firm's duplicator in the lunch hour, and it was only at this stage that the snag in the whole arrangement became apparent.  While I had been getting this permission, the rest of the Editorial Board had been doing a bit of crafty time and motion study.  They put it this way. "Look", they said, "You typed the stencils and then we used to help print, collate and staple it.  Now, all you've got to do is to take it in to work on a Thursday once a month after you've typed it on the Wednesday evening.  On the Thursday, you'll have a couple of hours to spare between leaving work and coming down to club, and that'll give you plenty of time to do the folding, collating and stapling.  Our job will be coming down to club and reading it."

Arguments were in vain. I tried to appeal to their better nature but they said they hadn't got one.  And so it happened.  Of course, the B.B. in those days was only six or eight pages and it could really be started on a Wednesday evening and brought down to club the following day. In fact, on one occasion, I went to a lecture at the university one Wednesday and brought out a B.B. in which the lecture was described at club the next day.  Once this routine had got itself established, it went on - and on and on.

Many years later, the firm declared the Gestetner was to be scrapped and I was told that I could put in a bid for it.  I suggested £1 and to my surprise it was accepted.  It worked for the B.B. until the end of 1971, when it was given to Dave Irwin who uses it still for publications.  It was a very good pound's worth!

In 1961, my greatest disappointment connected with the B.B. occurred.  The Wessex Journal had passed into the editorship of Chris Hawkes at the time, and I suggested to him that it would be a grand gesture if we got together just once in the year and published a joint Christmas edition.  To my delight, he agreed and we soon became quite enthusiastic about the project.  Difficulties were easily overcome.  For instance, the joint number would bear BOTH serial numbers.  At the time, both journals were of the same format, so there was no difficulty there.  I designed a cover, a copy of which I still have as a sad reminder of what might have been.  It showed a Wessex Gryphon and a B.E.C. bat shaking hands.  I mentioned the project to the B.E.C. committee, who thought it a very good idea, as did the club A.G.M. in the October of that year. Chris said that he had encountered no difficulty in his talks with the management of the Wessex Cave Club except that they thought it should be extended to include the other main Mendip club of that time - The Shepton Mallet Caving Club.

Nothing daunted, I added a Shepton pile of rocks to the design for the cover, so that the gryphon and bat had something to stand on, and surrounded the whole thing with the Shepton rope design - but alas!  The S.M.C.C. said that such a publication would not be in line with their publishing policy, which was only to publish serious work carried out by members of their own club.  The W.C.C. then said that if the S.M.C.C. could not see their way to joining in, they too would have to back out - and the grand Christmas number was dead.

Apart from this, there were of course, special numbers of the B.B.  In May 1960, a Silver Jubilee edition to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the B.E.C. was produced.  Christmas that year surprised us all by having no less than 36 pages, which was later surpassed by two 40 page Christmas editions and finally, in December 1965 by a 48 page number.

Time went on.  With the publication of number 176 for October 1962, the 35 issue barrier finally fell.  In July 1961, the record for the greatest number of issues for a single editor went by unnoticed by all, including myself.  In July 1965, I had somehow managed to make my century and in January 1966 equalled the output of all the other editors combined.  Only one thing enlivened matters during this long time. In March 1963, a column started in the B.B. written by one 'Stalagmite'.  His forthright comments over the next twelve months attracted much attention and there was great speculation as to who he could be.  In fact, he became quite a legend and his identity one of the best kept secrets of the B.B.

In spite of the record 48 pages for Christmas 1966 again it was becoming painfully obvious that the B.B. could do with new blood, and during 1967 I offered to resign.  At once, no less than two volunteers sprang forward - Alan Thomas and Dave Irwin.  Dave won the toss and so, with a modest 22 page issue for December 1967, I signed off and settled down to the prospect of becoming a reader of the B.B. again.

And that was the way I intended it to stay.  Apart from an annual allegedly humorous article at Christmastime, I decided that I would never again write for the B.B. but merely let it come to me as it had done years before.

When my B.B's started to arrive, with no effort at all on my part, I was certainly not disappointed. I was amazed.  Great big thick B.B.'s of a size I had never dreamed of started to arrive.  A new, modern cover; new size and new enthusiasm had woken the B.B. up yet again.

Dave edited the B.B. for two years, but the value he gave to the club was far greater than the short time would suggest.  In terms of quantity, he gave members no less than 458 pages of quarto, and his 60 page Christmas number for 1969 set a record which, in these days of rising paper prices, may never be broken.  This edition alone contained more pages than the whole of the year's issue of the B.B. for 1951.

It was not only in size that the great improvement to the B.B was felt at this time.  Dave had attracted a variety of writers whose joint efforts brought the B.B to the notice of many people outside the club to the extent that a subscription scheme for non-members was instituted and became successful.

At the end of 1969, Dave felt that the club's Caving Publications had greater need of his services, and Mike Luckwell volunteered to take over the editorship of the B.B, starting in January 1970.  The story of Mike's tragic death in North Wales is still fresh in our memories.  I was given the stencils which he had prepared towards his first edition and I am convinced that we lost a fine editor as well as a very pleasant personality and keen mind in that mountaineering accident.  The fact that, for example, his editorial was going out under a Latin title gives some idea of the style he would have brought to the B.B. had he lived.

The rest is recent history. As a temporary measure for the next two years, the B.B. was kept on at a more modest 12 pages of quarto per month, and then we went metric which required yet another change of size, cover and now publish at 24 pages of A5 per month printed by the offset litho process. The size of the B.B. is now dictated by the cost of materials.

What the future will bring is anybody's guess, but the B.B. has shown a remarkable ability to survive in the past and no doubt will continue to do so for a very long time to come.

 “Alfie”

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

Notice: -  The B.B. Editor is now on the Telephone – the number is CHEW MAGNA 2915.

Members Change of Address.

Nigel Hallet, 144, Stockwood Road, Bristol 4.


 

Club Officers' Reports - 1973 - Hon. Librarian’s Report

Now that the library is permanently installed at the Belfry members are making full use of its contents. Over 100 items have been out on loan to members.

Since the last A.G.M., various missing items from other club publications have been added to the collection by using old B.B.'s for exchange.  Our own output has been increased by the addition of Caving Logs; Hut books and other manuscripts.

In addition to various exchange publications, several items of great interest have been included: Longbottom Diaries 1934 - 1937; a photocopy of Catcott's description of the descent of Pen Park Hole; Pen Park Hole correspondence (1958); Bakers Caving; celebrated American caves; Northern Caves Volume 1; a Tour of the Caves, and many others.

The committee has agreed to the purchase of climbing guides (costing about £25-30) and the back numbers of ULSA reviews.  Several other items have been given to the library – such as a complete collection of ¼ maps of England and a 2nd edition of Caves of Wales and the Marches.

In December 1972, a library list was published and is available at the Belfry for the small sum of 10p.  This is of considerable use, especially for members living away from Mendip and wishing to borrow items through the post.

Additional shelving space will be required in the coming year, which will cost approximately £20 to accommodate the already overflowing books.

D.J. Iwin.


 

Néouvielle - Central Pyrenees - 12 and 13th May '73

We received this screed from Kangy complete with a note from his typist saying that the article which follows contains more padding than any normal sleeping bag!  It is, in fact, in Kangy' s normal and most readable style.

Rendezvous at 4 o'clock on Saturday afternoon as far as possible along the route to Cap Long. Incredulously, I stopped my car at the avalanche barely 2 km out of the village which, itself, is about 18 km from the 'roads Bridges' department hostel where we hoped to spend the night.  Several other cars were there, with other member of the party preparing to carry their gear.

At  4.30 p.m., I shouldered my ‘karrimor’ rucsac and skis de randonnee and calculated, unhappily, that I would have to carry this lot uphill for the next four hours at least.  At 5.30 p.m. I stopped, not the last, but regretting the pace which was faster than normal.  My hip hurt because I had over stretched it and my foot had cramp.  I fixed my boot with some sponge under the instep, tightened the rucsac straps to raise it higher on my back and continued on at a deliberate pace. This was the set of hairpin bends where, two years earlier, Arboucalot and I had left the car and spent twelve hours wading knee-deep in heavy snow to attempt the same mountain.  Another saga.

I picked my own way through avalanche debris and rejoined the road; walking on the edge from which the snow infill had melted.  At 6.30 p.m. I joined the fast men sitting around at Lac d'Oredon.  I sat with them wondering why I had come ("C'est bon, le ski.").  At 6.45 p.m., the fast men shot off up the grass slopes to join the road, now straight, wide and black with clean asphalt.  I plodded behind with the last man, refusing to work up a sweat and munching a cake for tea.

A cold mist developed and snow covered the road.  Dusk gathered.  I felt my pulse – 120!  I didn't, quite, feel bad enough to stop and anyway, was not tempted by the terrain. On each side, pine trees were growing out of broken, rocky ground.  Road edges were flat, but at a steep gradient with the bitumen squeezed up into the loose, grey gravel border.  Grey mist confined the view.  I passed the time imagining bivouac sites.  I was now last.  The ground levelled out as the road disappeared under a snowfield.  M. Moreau was there in the gloom, fastening his skis as I joined him.  At 8.15, I fitted the Silvretta bindings to Mark James's old ski mountain boots thinking that, at least, it made a change from road slogging.  Moreau plodded off without saying much, and I followed on, liking the different sensation of sliding and the pack lightened by the removal of the skis.  Moreau fell twice, resignedly, while I stood by and watched, wordlessly.  We crossed the dry surface of the bridge, carefully placing the skis to avoid large stones.  The hostel lay on the other side and slightly above.

At 8.30 p.m., I took off the sac and stood the skis and batons against the wall and went in.  The others, who had not long arrived, were still exploring the rooms.  The place, being private, is very well equipped. Gas lighting, stoves, everything for cooking and eating - except grub.  I went back to the bridge with M. Norman and filled two large containers with water.  It was now almost dark.  The tea I had started went down well and sweating backs were dried out against a fire which someone had lit.

An hour or so was spent chattering and bantering happily, eating soup and omelettes and trying out various red wines.  Outside, I found that the mist had lifted and the mountains stood out clear in the moonlight. Superb!  My Black's 'Romsdale' sleeping bag was far too hot and I only got off to sleep after midnight by lying under rather than in it.  I suppose I rested.  My hip gradually stopped hurting.

At 4.30 a.m., M. Plenier got up to start the day.  I lay on until 5 o'clock and then got up, had breakfast, pack my bag (my small super-lightweight bag) and stood around waiting for the others.  At 5.45 we started out.  The snow was frozen hard and some of us walked carrying our skis. Others skied.  It made little difference on the slightly rising ground.

At 7 o'clock, the steeper slopes were reached and, unequivocally, the skis were donned.  We climbed using seal skins and, in addition, those that had them used 'couteaux' - knife-like edges which cut into the snow and stop the skins and skis from sliding sideways when traversing.  I didn't have them and carried my skis quite often.

Eight o'clock and a stop for breakfast in the sun.  The snow stretched out smoothly and steeply to the wall of the summit.  We climbed slowly and, on the final snow slopes, where the couteaux-equipped skis forged ahead, I stuck mine upright in the snow and struck out directly for the left-hand arête, while the others made long traverses to the right.

As I arrived, Plenier shouted back that there was a bad passage on the ridge.  I hesitated but decided to go on.  He was right.  I came back, more onto the face and used strips of rotten snow and good handholds to climb.  Four metres from the top I ran out of enthusiasm for rotten snow.  The others, comfortably arrived, were vastly amused. At twenty years old, I would have taken a chance on the snow and would have managed somehow.  As a dad, I asked for - and got - a top rope, which pleased me.

9.45.  The views from the summit were almost unbelievable and occupied us happily until mid day.  We watched the slow progress of a party following our route.  We nibbled food, drank and chattered.  The sky was completely clear.  Then we rattled down the right-hand arête and, while the others put on their skis, I ran down to mine not to be left behind.  They came down in carefree, wide sweeping turns and I joined them.  The surface was excellent - a few cm of soft snow on top of hard, and in an exhilarating run we descended in five minutes what had taken us two hours going up. Understandably, we paused frequently to look and comment before diving into a series of broad turns across the wide snow slopes of the valley.  An intricate traverse was carefully retraced.  That, and two rather frightening schuss, and the hostel was in sight.

From 12.15, we idled around in the hot sun at the hostel.  Feeling rather ‘one up’, I drank a can of Newcastle Brown Ale.  We pottered around packing and cleaning up. At 3 p.m. we humped packs and skied by a connecting route to join the road.  We passed between rocky outcrops, traversed the length of a frozen lake, went through the pines and made a swift series of turns to stop by a vigorous stream to pack the skis.  My mind 'switched off' so much for the downhill road that I didn't quite understand when Plenier started to put on his skis.  The road, in fact, was partially covered in snow and with care, because of a savage ravine to the left, we skied on it.  The two series of hairpins were as good as a piste and lower still the thin thread-like path of snow continued.  I enjoyed that unexpected 4 km of ski transportation as much as anything. At 4 p.m. I reached the end of the snow road and repacked the blessed planks.

A road is a road, but going downhill in warm late after¬noon sunshine, this one wasn't too bad.  I noted, with interest that my heartbeats corresponded with my pace.  I was content.  I recognized the avalanches which had caused the extra work and, shortly afterwards, arrived at my car.  I was slightly tired, somewhat stiff and very happy ¬5.30 p.m. on.  Sunday - 25 hours after starting.


 

Letter to the Editor

40, Ralph Road,
Horfield,
Bristol 7.
21st August 1973

Dear Editor,

Every time I read the B. B. I feel that I would like to write a letter to you about certain points in the B.B.  However, laziness and forgetfulness comes over me until the next edition.  Finally, after reading the July B.B., I felt that I must put pen to paper.

On counting the number of members on the club committee, I find that we have a total of eleven. Last October the club members voted for nine members only to be on the committee.  Somehow, we have got two extra members who have not been nominated and elected by the members of the club.  If we need eleven, why not vote for eleven - or stick to the nine who have been properly elected?

On the subject of voting, why not have spare forms?  It has been known for the post office to lose letters do eat papers and children rip them up. It's a poor system when you cannot get a spare form.  The government is pretty inefficient, but at least they will let you ha a spare form.

A lot of B.E.C. members live in Bristol and for them, the venue of the A.G.M. is a poor one.  During the day, a trip up to the Belfry for the A. G. M., then back to Bristol, pick up wife, change etc., then back to Mendip again for the dinner! This arrangement amounts to eighty miles of travelling during the day at least.  Those who live on or near Mendip will only have a few miles to travel to attend both the A.G.M. and the dinner.  At least the mileage and the inconvenience were shared when the A.G.M. was held in Bristol! At this point, I apologise for not attending the A.G.M.

The B.E.C. is a caving club and I always imagine the role of a caving bulletin or magazine is to convey NEWS of CAVING.  This, the B.B. does not do.  I would think that some caver who is on Mendip regularly could jot down the latest news. Someone will inevitably say "Why doesn't he do it himself?"  Well, I'm not on Mendip regularly enough but even so, I pick up news that would interest others on Mendip.

For instance, G.B. has a new entrance.  One of the depressions has collapsed into the cave.  A pitch of about a hundred and fifty feet (estimated) leads into the top of the Gorge.  At present, the entrance looks very unstable due to mud.  Also in G.B., the way up to the ladder Dig no longer has a ladder.  A possible way up is to lasso the rawlbolts and to use slings to get to the top and then drop a ladder down.  In all, it makes it more difficult, which I suppose is the reason for doing it.

St. Cuthbert’s: Just before the duck is a waterwheel.  At the time of seeing it, this wheel was revolving and pumping all to no avail. The aqueduct just beyond the sump is excellent.  A deep hole below with no water is presumably the site of a dig.

Little Neath River Cave: U.B.S.S., have dived the end sump into VIII.  It is a three hundred foot dive from VIa and the passage of VIII is about fifteen hundred feet of typical Neath passage. Sump 9 bars the way on.

Madame Taussauds have bought the cave and paper mill.  It is their intention to blast into the ninth chamber and back to the third - taking in, perhaps, five, six, seven and eight, on the way.  This would give a circular route.  The exploratory dives in Wookey will, of course, become much shorter. They expect to have the new way operational by February and the surveying is almost completed.

Has anyone got any more caving news or digging news?  If so, send it in.

Yours,

Colin Priddle

…..followed by a reply from the editor………….

Lavender Cottage,
Bishop Sutton.

Dear Colin,

Your first point really wants an answer at some length, which I hope to cover in a future B.B.  I hope it will be sufficient for now to say that co-option is a fully recognized feature of almost every committee I have ever been associated with and that our rules are, in fact, much tighter in this respect than most.  Of the twelve member of the present committee (which is the maximum allowed by the constitution), nine were elected and three co-opted.  Barry was co-opted in line with the request of last year A.G.M. to ensure the continuity of the post of Treasurer.  Nigel Taylor, at the committee's desire to implement the A.G.M. ruling of the year before that the committee should do everything in its power to ensure that effective Hut Wardening takes place.  Jock had to be absent for some time on business and the committee felt that an assistant needed to keep the authority of committee status.  Martin Bishop, our most recent acquisition, was co-opted to ensure that the post of Belfry Engineer was being carried out under the committee's direct observation. The committee had qualms about going to the maximum number allowed by the constitution this year because they knew that a very large proportion of the present members were not standing next year and they wished, under these circumstances, to give other members some experience of working on the committee.

You will appreciate that this is an explanation - not in any way an apology.  The committee feel that co-options are a perfectly legitimate part of their operation where they consider this desirable in the best interests of the club during their year of office.

On voting, your point is well made.  Personally, I agree with you.  I do not feel strongly enough to put up a resolution seeking to change the new system, but perhaps you do?  I would not even second such a resolution, but nevertheless, that is the correct way to get the system changed if you feel strongly enough.  Although I would personally prefer to see copies available at the A.G.M., I am content to stick with the findings of a properly constituted sub-committee, formed at the request of the last A.G.M., whose findings have been endorsed by the club committee.

Your last point gets an enthusiastic "Hear! hear!" from the editor, although it must be pointed out that the B.E.C. is not solely a caving club.  Thank you for your information and I understand that Dave Irwin is considering re-starting his caving news, possibly under a new title. I assure you that I print as much caving news as comes my way, but when you consider, for example, how long it has been since Rhino Rift was opened and the fact that only now have we an article on it, you will appreciate that we are not getting people to write.

One answer would be to have an editor who was an extremely active caver, but this might result in ruining a perfectly good active caver!  I have tried to make it easy to write by providing the box in the Belfry, but at present it contains nothing more than an energetic spider who has made a very thick web inside;

Yours,
Alfie.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 38.

 

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

10

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

 

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

2. Cave trip for example, not on. (3)
5. Stoke appears in one. (4)
6. Change of vane in cave. (4)
7. Connection between Tributary Passage and Ridyard’s Wriggle in Stoke. (9)
9. Dhobi Colt for document sometimes necessary. (5,4)
12. Reef, perhaps? (4)
13. Bad behaviour in Cuthbert’s? (4)
14. Mendip Green. (3)

Down:

1. Half. (4)
2. Ancient cave chamber? (3,6)
3. A vice fray on Mendip? (5,4)
4. The other half? (4)
7. Short month. (3)
8. Tip backward. (3)
10. Bow across this can be 12 across. (4)
11.  Move forward in a cave slowly and imperially. (4)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

W

E

T

 

G

O

U

R

S

E

 

O

 

 

 

P

 

A

L

O

P

E

D

 

P

O

T

L

 

 

 

R

 

E

 

 

S

 

F

L

O

O

R

 

L

 

 

A

 

P

 

 

 

O

D

D

U

 

S

T

R

A

W

A

 

L

 

 

 

A

 

E

M

E

T

A

L

 

T

A

R

 

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.

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tele: WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     R. Bennett
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; M.J. Palmer; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; R. Orr, N. Taylor, B. Wilton, M. Bishop

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. THOMAS, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. BAGSHAW, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Asst. Treas.      B. WILTON, 27 bVenus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol.
Caving Sec:       T.E. LARGE, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 27 Quantock Rd, Windmill Hill, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
Hut Warden:      R. ORR.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Assit H.W.        N. TAYLOR, Whiddon, Chilcote, Somerset.  Tel. WELLS 72338.
Hut Engineer:    M. BISHOP, (Acting)  Address to follow..
Tacklemaster:    M.A PALMER. 27 Roman Way, Paulton, BS18 5XB
B.B. Editor:       S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tel: PRIDDY 369.
Pbs. (Sales)      C, Howell, 131 Sandon Rd., Edgbaston, Birminham.
Publications:     D.J. IRWIN.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

MENDIP RESCUE ORGANISATION.  In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481


 

Editorial

Hon. Treas.

Most older members, if asked to name the person who has held a particular office for the longest time in the history of the B.E.C. might well recall our founder, Harry Stanbury who held the posts of Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer from the inception of the club in 1935 until he retired from the committee in 1951.

This spell of sixteen years has, however, easily been beaten by his successor Bob Bagshaw, who has been Treasurer ever since and who retires at this forthcoming A.G.M. after staying the course for no less than twenty three years.

Whilst it is true of many of the jobs necessary for the running of a club such as ours, that a constant supply of fresh faces does nothing but good; there are some jobs where a degree of stability and experience breeds confidence and this is, perhaps, particularly true where finance is concerned.  The calm and unflustered way by which Bob produced £3,000 out of the hat in what must be record time for a club such as ours in order to finance the building of he present Belfry must surely be the highlight of his long term of office, which started before many of the younger members of the B.E.C. were born.

We wish his successor a literally prosperous career as the third holder of this office in the 39 years of the B.E.C.'s existence (He should, of course, last us until 1996!) and hope that Bob will continue to take a lively interest in the club whose fortunes he has guided for so long a time.

Better Bought Than Taught

We note from the Sunday Times of July 22nd, that the army are to hold an enquiry into the death of a 15 year old boy soldier in Porth yr Ogof.  This incident, according to the newspaper already mentioned, has produced a 'sharp reaction' both from the South Wales Caving Club and the Cambrian Caving Council.

The use of caves by the army for physical training has long been deplored by many cavers.  In my own case, I well remember a conversation with a terrified lad one Friday the Hunters who was dreading his forthcoming visit to Swildons the next day, but daren't refuse to go because the penalties he would incur.  This sort of thing is emphatically NOT what caving is all about, and one can only hope that it no longer exists.

The leaders on the ill-fated trip into Porth yr Ogof were both army sergeant-instructors who - again to quote the newspaper - 'were qualified cavers and only this May attended the scout caving course at Whernside in Yorkshire.'

It is tragic that Ian Calder's words describing caving certificates as 'a certificate which neither ensures accident-free trips nor an educational approach to caving' should be so rapidly endorsed by events.  Whilst there is nothing actually against the running of courses and the granting of certificates; it must always be realised that the only real qualification is experience and one should talk of an experienced caver rather than a qualified caver.  I would sooner be in a nasty situation underground with a caver who had years of experience behind him than with one who had just completed a course on caving - however good that course might have been.  Whether the leaders were in fact, experienced as well as 'qualified' was not stated in the newspaper account.

By all means let organisations who have vested interests in the physical fitness of their members encourage them - if they will - to go caving: but let these bodies get their members to go where the experience is with the country's caving clubs.

“Alfie”

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

In view of the success of the 'Old Men's Weekend' this year, "Sett" is thinking of holding one next year about may time, maybe on similar lines to the last one, or perhaps in some other form according to people's wishes.

Notices

The Committee would like to thank Buckett Tilbury for his gift of additional storage heaters for the Belfry.

Members going abroad may like to know that if they get a form E111 filled in and attached to their passports, this will give them the same medical treatment facilities as, are received by natives of the E.E.C. countries they may be visiting.  It still pays to check just what these are however, because medical treatment is not always free.

The Hon. Librarian appeals to members who have returned books, periodicals etc. NOT TO FILE THEM BACK into the library system, but to leave them on the library table.  This will prevent them being mis-filed.

The Hon. Secretary is appealing for NOMINATIONS for the 1973-1974 Committee.  These must reach him IN WRITING by the 8th of September at 10.30 a.m.  No seconder is required but the permission of the person or persons nominated must have been obtained and they must have agreed to stand if elected.  The paper nominating them MUST SAY that this is the case.

The Committee wish to announce that they have co-opted to fill the vacancy of Belfry Engineer.

Members are asked by the local council NOT to park cars on Priddy Green if visiting Swildons.  Cars should be parked on the UPPER GREEN (by the church) and for short stays on the SIDE VERGES of the lower green NOT on the central area of the green.

The committee wish to announce that, in accordance with the instructions given to them by the last A.G.M., they propose a change to the constitution; "That the word 'ratified' be inserted before the word 'members' in clause 5 of the constitution".  This is the appropriate notice required by the constitution to be published so that, if the A.G.M. agree, the constitution can be changed at the forthcoming A.G.M.


 

Club Officers' Reports - 1973 - Caving Secretary's Report.

N.B. All officers reports published this year in the B. B. have been approved by the Committee.

This year has seen much caving activity both on Mendip further a field - especially South Wales and Yorkshire.  Also a small group of members have done original work in exploring and surveying some caves on the Western coast of Scotland.  Four members have joined caving teams in the Pyrenees who are exploring the Pierre St. Martin.

As usual, nearly every nook and cranny on Mendip has been visited by someone.  Digging has taken up a considerable amount of members' time with work progressing in Cuthbert’s, Manor Farm Swallet, Cuckoo Cleeves, Avelines, etc.  Hunters Hole has been attacked spasmodically but has not yet yielded to the methods used so far.  Rookery Farm Swallet was also dug during the year, but was abandoned when the bottom of the entrance shaft fell in.  Bucket Hole, which has not been dug for over a year now, is to be filled in.

On the surveying side, work has continued in Cuthbert’s and in Burrington caves, both being almost completed.  This year, St. Cuthbert’s has seen a drop in the number of tourist trips, but a rise in the number of prospective leaders who have completed the Leaders' Trips.

Much appreciated help was given by Roy Bennett who organised all the club trips to Yorkshire and South Wales.  These were well attended and plenty of enjoyable caving was done - some in company with the Bradford Pothole Club.

May I take this opportunity to wish next year's Caving Secretary the best of luck?

Tim Large.

Club Officers' Reports - 1973 - B.B. Editor's Report.

This has been a year of no major change to the B.B.  The club's journal has been stabilised for two years now at a normal issue of 24 pages of A5 per month.  During the first half of 1973, the B.B. has been running over a month late, but hopefully will have caught up by the time of the A.G.M.

There is no doubt in my mind, after handling journals of some other clubs, that we made the right metric choice in going to A5.  I am also convinced that centre stapling and the stiff cover to Barry Wilton's distinctive and eye-catching design were, again, good choices.  The B.B., like many other club journals, has had a number of changes of cover and of format over the years and I think we would do well to keep the present arrangements for some time to come; now we have good ones.

Various polls taken over the years - the last one being at the last A.G.M. - have shown a remarkable consistency in the wishes of club members for retaining a monthly journal and, again, I think we should now consider this subject closed - at least for a good time ahead.

On contents there is little to say.  As always, one prints more or less what one receives.  The only difficulty lies in the choice between printing long articles of specialist interest only, or trying to produce enough of more general interest without them.  I have tried to apply the principle of striking a balance between appeal to the average reader the one hand, and the club image as reflected in the B.B. the other.

An attempt to run regular features ('Just a Sec'; 'At the Belfry', etc.) has not proved very successful and these and other serial articles have fallen by the wayside.  I have kept the crossword going because a few people do it and others consider it a unique feature of a caving magazine.

In judging the B.B. over the year, it should be looked at the general context of journals of a similar type. This I have endeavoured to do throughout the year and find that the B.B. seems to be keeping its end up.  Problems of finding enough suitable material and of expanse do not seem to be confined to the B.B.

Within these limits, the only improvement that is being actively pursued is that of using the Xerox copy on to paper master process for the production of more professional looking headings etc.  The really big improvement would, of course, be to type the B.B. on an I.B.M. golf ball typewriter - but this will have to wait until we find someone who has not only the facilities but the time and the will to do it, or until either the club or myself can afford to buy one.

I should like to conclude by thanking all those who have contributed towards the B.B. in any way, without whose support we should not have a club magazine.  It may be unfashionable to name names, but out thanks should go, amongst many others, to Kay Mansfield, who sends out the B.B. with the usual Mansfield family efficiency but who is unfortunately retiring from this job; to Barry Wilton who has been organising a local delivery service and who is always available to help in any way; and to Kangy King our most regular contributor over the ages, now joined by his young son.  Perhaps when I am an old man, Jonathan might be sending me my B.B. from Toulouse.

Annual Dinner

This will be held at the WOOKEY HOLE CAVE RESTAURANT ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6th at 7.30 for 8 p.m.

Price per person is £1.65. Send your money to Bob Bagshaw (For the last time!) and make sure of your place at the B.E.C. Dinner.


 

Sutherland

An account by Graham Wilton-Jones of this fine area of the country.

Reading in the Christmas B.B. about the B.E.C./Shepton visit to Sutherland for the Grampian Dinner prompts me to add to Mike's article some of my own notes of a visit made to that area last summer.

I had originally intended to go to Sutherland with Jim Abbott and Co. but, as only he and I were interested, the idea fell through - have we not heard this saga before?  When I heard that Bob Mayhew and Crange were going up there for a week with a Shepton party, I asked to join them.

They already had a full load, and since I was to travel from East Anglia I went up in my own car.  I had just fitted twin carbs and was keen to see how they performed.  I soon learned!  The inlet noise was deafening, and was continuous for 700 miles.  Then it also rained all the way up there and the car leaked like a sieve, creating my very own, mobile flood in the back.  Various vehicles left the road in the treacherous weather - all up in Scotland.

Late in the evening I arrived at what I thought to be a pleasant camping spot half way between Inverness and Ullapool.  I still had something to learn about Scotland in July and August.  It's infested with midges - and that evening they all converged on my car and my tent.

The following morning the rain had stopped and the midges were gone, except those in the car.  There was a dull mist in the air, adding to the bleakness of the morning.  The stony moor land soon gave way to trees as I dropped toward the coast.  I breakfasted by the Falls of Measach spectacular in their deep, sharp shelved gorge - and then drove down to Ullapool.  Loch Broom lay quiet and still, brilliantly reflecting the little white houses of the town and the long line of massive white cumulus above.  The Minch and its islands lay beyond, peaceful in the morning.

Having stocked up with provisions, I continued on to Elphin where we were to stay, courtesy of G.S.S. The road is simply a switchback of metallising laid across open moor with no boundaries along most of its length. It is also fast, and I soon arrived at the G.S.S. headquarters - a rusty looking corrugated iron shed to find that the Shepton had already arrived.  Having travelled overnight, they were all kipping, so I set off up the rise behind the hut to admire the view.

In actual fact, the view from the hut door is truly magnificent and the only advantage in climbing is that you see a little further. Suilven is particularly prominent. Other mountains dominate other aspects of the view, which is otherwise a low, hummocky, lake-scattered bog.  From higher up, the sea is visible.

The village of Elphin lies on the line of the Moine thrust fault.  This line can be drawn from Loch Eiboll on the North coast through Ullapool to the Sound of Sleat which is the channel between the island of Skye and the mainland.  This line is an important geological divide.  To the West, the rocks are largely gneiss overlaid with hard Torridon Sandstone.  To the east lie the rocks which form most of North Scotland. All this dips to the South East. In past geological eras, various rocks including quartzite, grits and the Durness limestones were laid over much of the area.  From the West, these have been largely eroded away although the sandstone heights are capped with protective layers of quartzite.  Gneiss and schists have been thrust over the top of the Cambrian rocks from the East, burying them.  They now outcrop only as a narrow band along the line of the thrust faults, where they are squashed, contorted and faulted.  The main outcrop of limestones are on Skye, in Loch Kishorn, near Torridon, around Eljhin and at Durnes.

When the Shepton finally rose from their slumbers, we went off for permission to visit various sites. Basically, permission is from the Nature Reserve Warden and one of the local gamekeepers.  This covers most of the Elphin and Inchnadamph area.  Soon we were making our way up the Allt nam Hamh - the stream of the caves.  Apparently there had been no rain for some time and the water was lower than usual. To the North of the stream is a small spring with little flow at that time to the south, at the base of a crag, well above the valley appeared the Orne Caves, beautifully circular in section.  Near here, the stream appeared out of the ground and further upstream, to the East, the streambed was dry boulders and gravel.

We soon climbed out of the main valley southwards and into a shallow subsidiary valley.  At the head of this we came upon Hamh an Claomeite. The water in this cave actually sinks through the peat higher up on the moor.

The weather was holding, so the following day we drove out to Stoer via Loch Assynt.  The road is narrow, winding and hummocky, following faithfully the best course over this rough barren land which is typical of gneiss scenery.  The bare rock is a sombre grey.  There are few trees, but hundreds of streams and lakes full of water lilies.  The land beyond Stoer is sandstone, and is much smoother with fewer lakes.  In glorious sunshine we walked round the coast, along the boulder beach or above the cliffs while we watched seals, cormorants and oyster-catchers.  After some six miles, we came to the Old Man of Stoer.  This is an impressive stack of layered sandstone, standing just out from the cliff with deep, threshing water between.  It is about two hundred feet high, and it has been climbed.

On, then, to the Point of Stoer, where cliff edge feats were performed to photograph a fluffy young fulmar nestling.  We returned to base via the Northern road.  On the way back, we stopped by a loch to look at an interesting but midge-infested waterfall.  The loch is perched on a low plateau and its outlet is into a narrow gorge.  At one end there are numerous perched rocks, often with good waterfalls in this part of the world.

Our evenings, and sometimes mid-days, were spent at Inchnadamph.  This is a hotel, though a farm, school and chapel warrant it a name on the map.  Behind Inchnadamph lies the Traligill River which gathers on the slopes of Ben Mor Assynt. A mile or so upstream, the river emerges from a large dark cleft in the bottom of a deep, steep sided gorge.  The cleft is like a bedding plane, but is in fact a thrust fault plane.  Most of the horizontal planes seen in the Durness Limestone are associated with faulting. Further up valley, the river is being swallowed by a large inviting hole.

On up the valley and on to a spur between the river and a tributary, we found our objective, Caoc Nam Uamh, which Bob started to survey.  There are three entrances to the system, Uamh an Uisge is a fault plane bedding at thirty degrees with an impressive cascade of water covering the whole width of the floor - up to fifty feet - and disappearing into darkness. An open pothole gives direct access to Uamh an Uisge.  The third entrance is Uamh an Tartair, which we used.  Once inside we met the stream which we crossed.  Crawling and climbing through a couple of small decorated chambers and over a broken floor above the stream, we soon came to the upstream sump - a deep pool rising in a large chamber.  Crange noted that the water was rising quite rapidly, but we were assured that all was well.  So while Bob began to survey each pebble and lump of mud, we set off to explore the rest of the system thoroughly.  At the extreme Eastern end is a static sump dammed by a peaty deposit.  At the other end of the cave - downstream - the waters swirl along a series of sumps and ducks under rock bridges.  By-passing one sump I reached a narrow rift which dropped down again to the stream, now deep and swift flowing.  This led straight into Uamh na Uisge.  The water had by now risen considerably and I instantly cast aside any thoughts of descending this torrential cascade.

Leaving Bob to his surveying, we went off along the valley as two hours underground seemed sufficient for the day.  After another two hours, having looked at every hole; marsh; stream; bog and waterfall, we arrived back at the cave.  Five minutes inside, I found Bob still surveying and muttering that he'd need another six trips to do the whole lot.  We left him and returned to the hut for nosh hours later, in the evening, we met him at the pub, now muttering about a further twelve trips.

On the Tuesday, we drove Northwards across Ferry and up to Durness.  The road runs close to the coast in places, though often the sea is hidden by scattered hummocks.  It is typical gneiss scenery with a myriad of lakes.  The weather deteriorated to clammy mist and drizzle as we approached the North coast.  Here, the relief changes as the road runs into sandstone, and then the Cambrian outcrops.  Durness lies on the limestone and there is to be found the most northerly cave in the British Isles - Smoo Cave, which we had come to see.  There are good descriptions of Smoo in various books. It lies at the end of a long, narrow chasm-like bay and a stream runs over the sandy floor and out into the bay. Above the cave are three potholes and the water of the river Smoo drops down one of these.  The cave is large, but neither long nor spectacular.  Having looked into every possible nook and cranny without getting wet, we wandered down the bay.  The stream wanders from side to side of the bay until it eventually meets the sea about half a mile out.  There are numerous small holes in awkward places, but the increasingly heavy rain drove us back to shelter.  We returned via ultra narrow roads over some desolate empty country and thence to base. For those interested in history, there are various brochs to be seen on this inland route.  These are early Iron Age circular stone forts.  We saw only one, but passed several according to the maps.

Next day we walked up Allt nam Uamh, putting in bags of activated charcoal at various strategic points. The river had risen considerably and there were fountains and springs in all sorts of obvious and unexpected places.  We put dye into the stream in Uamh an Claonaite, which has a loose ruckle entrance. The markers were picked up a couple of days later, but all proved negative as the peat had blotted out all traces of the dye. 

Early one morning we visited Kuachan Cliff, just down the road from the pub.  This is rather interesting as all the rocks of the locality, except the gneiss and sandstone can be seen outcropping in the cliff. There is also a nature trail up the cliff, where numerous unusual flowers grow, especially alpine species. On the loch opposite the cliff, there were divers (birds) whose mournful cries echoes around, somehow adding to the wildness of the view.  On a clear day, this view takes in many hundreds of square miles of Scottish scenery.

Suilvan, whose peak is protected from more rapid erosion by a granite intrusion, and Stac Pollaidh, are both visible from the cliff on a clear day.  They are both WNW-ESE ridges of sheer sided sandstone cliffs. Suilven, four miles as the crow flies from the nearest road, is a magnificent sight from the hut.  It stands 1,500 feet above the general level of the rest of the land and a stream of cloud flows frequently from its summit. As weather became less settles during our stay, Suilven disappeared.  Thus, when it re-appeared beneath the cloud one day, Crange and I persuaded everyone else that they wanted to climb it.

We decided to take a longer route, involving some nine ten miles, to the summit.  The main difficulty lies in avoiding all the lakes and rivers.  After half an hour after we had set out, the cloud lowered, it began to rain and Suilven vanished once more.  The ground became boggy and soon filled with little streams and pools.  We came upon a herd of about two hundred deer, and within minutes of their spotting us they were miles away.  Finally we reached the slopes of Suilven and climbed into the cloud. This we discovered to be dangerously thick and so retired defeated.

I stayed on after the Shepton had returned to Somerset the weather at once cleared.  I went up Stac Pollaidh which is much more accessible than Suilven, being only mile from the road.  Being alone, I did not climb the final sections - a ten foot overhang above a sheer drop of more than a hundred feet followed by a steep slope of eight hundred feet or so.  However, this ascent lessened the disappointment of failing to climb Suilven. From this windy peak, the view was over thousands of square miles of land and sea.  Below the peak, large sandstone pebble have been polished shiny smooth by desert winds of millions of years ago.

On the hill behind the Grampian hut there is supposed to by Crystal Cave. We had spent fruitless hours searching for it.  I was up there looking for it, when a golden eagle flew low above my head.  Later, I saw him again being mobbed by a Kestrel. Within the same hour, a harrier chasing rabbits nearly flew into me.  There are many birds of prey here, no doubt finding plentiful food amongst the rabbits and small rodents.  I never found Crystal Cave, although I found several other holes. The peat in this area has in it many preserved organic remains, especially silver birch and bracken.  In one peat patch, I came across a preserved fox's paw.

For me, one of the most successfully expeditions of the holiday was a walk out to the highest waterfall in the country.  This is six hundred and fifty two feet high and is about four miles from the road at the head of Loch Glancoul.  It was a brilliant hot day, with no one on the moors but me and in less than half an hour from the road I could see one of the falls.  There are two waterfalls on opposite sides of a classic U-shaped glaciated valley.  For a photograph of the other and higher one, I climbed down the cliff beside it from which vantage point it is awe inspiring sight although from the valley floor one has a better impression of the height of the fall.  Here I cooled off in a delicious plunge of yet another waterfall.

The walk out to the falls is not difficult, involving only a little clambering.  The cliff climb is not essential.  There are several streams and placid pools and green hawks nest in the moors higher up, their piping call ringing from the surrounding rocks.

I intend to go to Sutherland again this year, and I hope that this and Mike's article will persuade others that they must see this beautiful part of our islands (I need some company to go and attempt Suilven again!).  Do think seriously about it.  Bristol to Elphin is 600 miles and this can easily be covered overnight using motorways and empty Scottish roads if you are not interested in seeing any scenery on the way.  The roads can take it out of a car though!  I had to spend £50 on tyres and suspension afterwards and Crange mashed up the front of his car on a deer.  Make certain that your transport is in trouble-free condition first.  Garages are rare up there, but don't be put off!


 

Club Officers' Reports - 1973 - Hut Warden's Report.

This report covers the period from the 4th August 1972 the end of the club financial year at 29th July 1973.

In the same manner as last year, the Belfry Book has been laid out in analysis form from which current information may be extracted and conveyed via the report.  These analysis sheets are available for inspection and may be indexed back to any particular week in the Belfry Book which may require a detailed check.  The usefulness of the analysis sheets is demonstrated by the ease and facility with which a remote item buried in the Belfry Book may be identified.

The table below is based on extracts from the sheets, and if you have last year’s September B.B. you will be able to make a direct comparison.

BELFRY USAGE

BED-NIGHTS

% TOTAL

FEES

% TOTAL

Male Members

784

49

£117.60

37.7

Female Members

93

6

£  13.95

4.4

Male Visitors

633

39.5

£158.25

50.7

Female Visitors

89

5.5

£  22.25

7.2

TOTALS

1,599

100.0

£312.05

100.0

The total bed-nights for this year show a gain of one over last years total.  DOWN go member’s bed-nights by 125 from 1,002 to 877.  UP go visitors by 126 from 596 to 722. Members are now down to 53.% of the bed-nights at a total contribution of 42.1% of fees received, whilst visitors are now up to 45% of usage and 57.9% of fees received.  The increase in fees received may be noted as being UP by £12.75 from £299.30 to £312.05.

Notes on Income and Expenditure.

In addition to the hut fees received (£312.05) the Belfry records the following information…..

Day fees & Conscience Box       £28.13

Camping                                   £21.36

Lighting spares & Carbide           £15.69

Tackle Fees                              £12.28

Publications                              £78.69

Ties & Badges                           £ 4.00

Keys                                         £ 5.45

……and it may be noted that although this amounts to a total of £165.60 and appears to be more than last year, the fact is that spares and carbide and ties and badges have gone down with a thump.

Tools cost the Belfry £17.32 of which £11.36 was the major item of two sets of push rods and plungers to free the long drain runs to the sceptic tank.

Paint, cement, and other materials cost £15.25.  Fittings to the Belfry cost £22.89 and this item includes £8.20 for new locks. Purchases of new keys amounted to - wait for it! - £22.72 of which there are 100 awaiting distribution to members at a reasonable deposit.  The cost of the keys is not of course included in the £22.89 mentioned for fittings.

Fuel cost for the Belfry stove amounted to £7 tractor hire and £3 for fuel sufficient to last through NEXT winter of 1973/74.  Well done, Assistant Hut Warden Nigel Taylor and his willing helpers!  The storage heaters completed the Belfry warm-up and hastened the disappearance of the fungus mould from the ceilings and walls.

To conclude this report, I think it is only fair to offer my thanks to those who have been conspicuous in assisting with the many routine jobs, maintenance and improvements.  The Belfry has been well looked after by members and visitors, despite one or two weekends of utter confusion when it has had the appearance of a shambles waiting to be cleared up.  I especially commend the Assistant Hut Warden Nigel Taylor for his work in general and the initiative he has displayed in fostering a good atmosphere at the Belfry.

Personal reasons make it impossible for me to stand for next year’s committee so may I close by wishing my successor the best of luck and enjoyment of what is, on the whole, the most interesting job on the Committee?

Jock Orr.

Club Officers’ Reports - 1973 - Hon. Secretary's Report.

It is interesting that the enormous number of enquiries for membership we have had over the past year have only produced the normal number of new members.  Nevertheless, membership of the B.E.C. now exceeds 200.

There has been an average amount of correspondence with other bodies, some of it initiated by the Priddy Parish Council and by the Maine family.  Relations with our immediate neighbours have been comparatively cordial and a policy of 'laissez faire' appears to have resolved the question of access.  The opinion of an independent solicitor was sought, on direction from last year's A.G.M.  and given on these and other matters, but it would not be, in the best interests of the club to express them in the B.B.  After long negotiation with the Inveresk Paper Group, they have reversed their decision to lease us more land.

We are losing this year several tried and true members of the committee, and I close with the hope that what the new committee lack in experience it will gain in enthusiasm.

Alan Thomas.


 

Member’s Addresses

New member’s addresses and changes of address of older members.

106. E. MASON 33 Broadleys Ave, Henleaze, Bristol.
276.      J:M. STAFFORD," Back Plaidy, King Edward, Nr. Turriff, Aberdeenshire.
329.      & 330. Mr. & Mrs. T. W. NEIL, Old Haybridge Inn, Haybridge, Wells, Somerset.
449.      G.T. DELL ,8 Portway, O1d Sarum Salisbury, Wilts.
553.      BOB WHITE, Kiebo, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.
704.      D. METCALF, 52 Northfield Rd, Peterborough, Northants.
759. & 765. Mr. & Mrs. R.T. GAGE, 24 Belvior Road, St. Andrews, Bristol.
791.      D. HERBERD, 33 Triangle East, Old field Park, Bath.
810.      Miss L. WILLIAMS, Whitesdown Farm, Cheddar Cross Rd, Compton Martin, Bristol BS18 6LD.
811.      D. KNOWLES, 35 North Road, Watley's End, Bristol BS17 1PT.
812.      E. WILTON-JONES. Address to follow.
813.      M. JARRETT, 12 Edgecombe Rd, Hall Green, Birmingham B28 8AY
814.      N.J. DIBBEN, 17 Neville Rd, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire
815.      P.G.ROGERS,56, Charlton Lane, Brentry, Bristol BS10 6SQ

Club Officers’s Reports - 1973 - Publications & Sales Report.

The last year has not seen the publication of any new reports though, as will be seen later, there is much in the pipeline.  Several reprints have been re-introduced into the collection of Caving Reports for sale at the Belfry.

Although no new publication have made its appearance this year, sales of existing material has continued - albeit at a lower rate than last year.  Vanishing Grottoes and Reflections are among the best sellers.

Sales figures to hand at the present for the club financial this year totalled about £90, which is approximately what it was for the previous year 1971-72.  The Treasurer’s report will give all the necessary figures. Three reports are in the immediate pipeline, some of which will have been published before the Annual General Meeting.  These will make 1973-74 a record year for sales.  Pre-orders for the Burrington Atlas show that three fifths of the total printing will be sold very soon after publication

Reprints of the older reports has accounted for much of the costs of publications this year.  £4 was spent on replacing the silk screen on the duplicator, and this has paid off handsomely when one compares the Headwear and Lighting Report with the Pyrenean publication.  Reports brought back into circulation are No 5 (Headwear and Lighting), No 3A (Lightweight Ladder Construction) and No 11 (Long Chamber and Coral area of St. Cuthbert’s).  A further reprint of No 1 (Redcliffe Caves Survey) will be available during the coming winter.  Stencils for numbers 3A, 6, 9 and 11 have been destroyed and so these reports will be phased out of the series.

New reports in the pipeline are No 14 (Balague 1970), No 17 (A Burrington Atlas) and No 13 part’s G, I and J.  Numbers being printed are 500 for No 17 (an increase from 350 due to orders) No 14, 100 and No 13, 250.  The cost of production of the new reports is approximately £100 for No 17 and £20 for No 14. No 13 has not yet been fully costed but is thought to be in the region of £60.

The help given us by Barry Wilton has helped to keep costs down enormously, but the full cost of production will be felt now that he is unable to continue helping in this way. The increased cost has already been felt in the Burrington Atlas.  The estimated cost (using metal plates) was £70 but the final cost has risen to just under £100.  Due to the enormous capital sums that are required for launching a new publication; authors, I hope, will not be too upset if some publications are printed by Gestetner and not by offset litho.  This is not a slur on their work but should the manuscript be such that only small numbers will be printed, this will be done on the Gestetner.

The policy of producing a popular 'best seller' is continuing.  Following the success of 'Vanishing Grottoes' we are following up with 'A Burrington Cave Atlas'.  This brings a quick return into the coffers and helps finance the less popular and more specialised publications that should be published.  Therefore, it is better when discussing publications with regard to cost that one takes them as a whole and not individually.  So long as the Publications Department as a whole is paying its way and producing enough money to finance further MSS, then all is well.

New reports in the pipeline at preparation stage are 'Caves of Western Mendip' (Chris Howell), 'The Chepstow Caves (Roy Bennett) and 'Mendip Mining Sites'  The Cuthbert’s marathon still continues.

During the past year, Publications has added surveys its sales material.  So far, sales have proved the popularity of such a stock at the Belfry - so much so that the pattern of sales is not yet clear.  In one case Swildons - 10 copies were sold in 10 days.  Profits from the sales will be used to purchase new surveys for the club Library of caves both on and off Mendip.

Due to work on the cottage and other pressures such as caving (!) much of the donkey work on the actual production of the reports has been left to Doug Stuckey to carry out. Thus, typing the draft has been principally my responsibility plus the general layout; drawing of the diagrams and surveys has been split between Doug and myself, and liaison with the printers and use of the offset litho machine at Alfie's has been dealt with by Doug. Postal sales are being handled by Chris Howell in Birmingham. Material required through the post should requested from him.  The Belfry carries a full stock, as do I at home - though this is mainly an overflow stock for the Belfry.

Thought I've enjoyed being editor of the Caving Reports for the last five years, I feel it is time to give way to some new blood.  A frequent change in such a position will inject new ideas for subject matter and presentation and so I would like to offer my resignation as Editor of the Club Publications.

Lastly, but not least, I would like to thank all who helped and those that are still helping in the many problems in producing the publications (and a great number of man-hours are being spent on them - a fact no generally realised by those who pay so little for them, 10,000 man-hours on the Cuthbert’s survey alone!) - Bar Wilton, Doug Stuckey, and many others.

Dave Irwin.


 

Caving Trips

Saturday and Sunday, 1st and 2nd September

BIRK'S FELL - Leader D. Irwin.

Saturday, October 20th

DAN-YR-OGOF - Leader P. Kingston.

Sunday, November 11th

AGEN ALLWEDD - Leader D. Stuckey.

Friday, December 7th

RESERVOIR HOLE - Leader D. Irwin.

(Evening trip. Meet at 7.30 p.m. AT THE CAVE.)

Note:    If you wish to go on any of these trips, contact the Caving Secretary OR put your name up on the list at the Belfry.

Note:    Dave Irwin can obtain the key for Reservoir Hole at any time.  See him if you want to do this cave other than on the date shown above,

The Caving Secretary would be pleased to hear of any other suggestions for caving trips.  If you can lead a party down a particular cave; or if you have any special access arrangements to any cave that you think the club would be interested to visit, or if you merely want to do a particular cave if a suitable trip is laid on.

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

IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED IN ATTENDING A GET-TOGETHER ON THE SUBJECT OF ELECTRONICS IN CAVING (Communication; survey aids; finding new caves etc.) PLEASE EITHER WRITE TO SETT OR TALK TO HIM AT THE A.G.M. OR DINNER.  SETT’S ADDRESS IS PUBLISHED BELOW.

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

Any older members who are interested - and younger ones too, who may like the opportunity of meeting some of the cavers and climbers who helped to make the B.E.C. what it is to-day - should get in touch with "Sett".  His address is:- R.A. Setterington, 4, Galmington Lane, Taunton, Som.  If you are going to the A.G.M. or dinner, "Sett" will be there and willing to discuss any ideas you may have.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 37.

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

7

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

12

 

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

Across:

1. Swildons Way. (3)
3. Formations. (5)
6. Ran pole differently? (5)
8. Reverse of 2 down. (3)
9. Lower part of cave? (5)
11. Black part of well known Welsh cave? (3)
12. Warts information. (5)
14. Extracted from Mendip once. (5)
15. Hilliers Hall. (3)

Down:

1. Local City. (5)
2. Reverse of 8 across. (3)
4. Ledge Pitch, Mud Hall or Traverse Chamber? (5)
5. Rested perhaps on a caving trip. (3)
7. May describe water or some of 8 across in a cave. (5)
9. Nobody is to blame for this cave feature. (5)
10. Ledge Pitch, perhaps, but not really Mud Hall     or Traverse Chamber. (5)
11. Found constructed in Cuthbert’s. (3)
13. Reverse of 15 across run in Cuthbert’s. (3)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

S

 

A

 

S

 

A

 

A

C

R

Y

P

T

 

R

I

G

A

 

E

 

R

 

E

 

O

L

O

 

D

E

P

T

H

 

E

 

S

 

T

 

E

 

G

 

P

I

T

C

H

 

G

O

M

 

L

 

H

 

D

 

U

A

P

T

 

E

R

R

O

R

P

 

S

 

R

 

Y

 

S

 

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.

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tele: WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     R. Bennett
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; M.J. Palmer; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; R. Orr.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. THOMAS, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. BAGSHAW, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. LARGE, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 27 Quantock Rd, Windmill Hill, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
Hut Warden:      R. ORR.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Assit H.W.        N. TAYLOR, Whiddon, Chilcote, Somerset.  Tel. WELLS 72338.
Hut Engineer:    M. BISHOP, (Acting)  Address to follow..
Tacklemaster:    M.A PALMER. 27 Roman Way, Paulton, BS18 5XB
B.B. Editor:       S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tel: PRIDDY 369.
Pbs. (Sales)      C, Howell, 131 Sandon Rd., Edgbaston, Birminham.
Publications:     D.J. IRWIN.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

MENDIP RESCUE ORGANISATION.  In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481


 

Editorial

Clangers Department

Unfortunately owing to the fact that the B.B. is usually produced in rather too much of a hurry; mistakes creep in.  Last month's issue contained some mistakes which were of more then the usual amount and warrant some apology from the editor.  Firstly, some of the names of people who formed the sub-committee on voting procedures were left out.  Profuse apologies to Nigel Taylor and to Joan Bennett on this account.

Secondly, a number of mistakes occurred in the write-up on the Burrington surface survey.  These will be found (I hope) corrected in this B.B.

A Month Behindhand

While in an apologising moody readers will have noticed that the B.B. has been running behindhand for some time this year.  The obvious way out of this - to combine two issues - is being firmly resisted, as we hope to be able to catch up and provide twelve issues during the year.

A. G. M. And all that

Because of the month behindhand, we start the round of paperwork which leads to the A.G.M. in this month's B.B.  Members will remember that the A.G.M. last year was a lengthy affair which had to be continued on the Sunday, and for this reason, the minutes are being split into two B.B.'s so that a huge chunk of A.G. M. minutes will be avoided.  Whilst on the subject of A.G.M.'s it is not too early to mention that this year's A.G.M. is on Saturday, October 6th - this being the traditional first Saturday in October. It should also be noted that, in accordance with a resolution made at the last A.G.M., this one will be held at the BELFRY and will start at 10.30 in the morning.  There will, of course, be a suitable break to enable members to visit a local hostelry for refreshments between the morning and afternoon sessions.

Stoke Lane Slocker

The new arrangements for access to this cave are now out.  I have not actually seen them myself, but as described it looks as if it is going to be considerably more difficult to arrange trips to this cave than has been the case in the past.  The cave is administered by the West London Caving Club, who have a headquarters nearby; with an arrangement with the present farmer.

If the access arrangements are as tough as they sound, there will be a temptation to use the C.S.C.C. as a means of getting them slackened, but against this must be set the right of a caving club to make agreements with local landowners.  The situation appears to be one in which friendly talks may prove the best method of solution to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Paying The Piper

Talking of the C.S.C.C., an interesting argument cropped up at their last meeting on the subject of raising money if this ever became necessary to safeguard any particular cave. It was suggested that, in this event, money should be collected by a levy attached to the annual subscription of club members of all participating clubs.  This, of course, would have the effect of clubs contributing in the ration of their respective membership – the bigger clubs paying the lion’s share.

It becomes difficult to see how this can be equated with the theory that all caving clubs have an equal say in the affairs of the C.S.C.C. – either we must say that clubs contribute according to membership, nobody could blame them if they insisted on a voting system also based on membership.  He who pays the pipe, calls the tune.

“Alfie”


 

Letters

We are naturally pleased to publish this letter from our old friend 'Sett' especially as it says nice things about the B.B.  It is good to know that at least one club member reads it!

Dear Alfie,

The April B.B. is one of the best you have ever published.  However, there are several items which, in my opinion, justify comment - some briefly, some at greater length.  Let us discuss the shorter ones first.

What a well designed collection of articles on gorges!  I have always enjoyed open air caving and could, perhaps, point Kangy at some other worthwhile gorges in France.  I hope he will excuse me if it turns out that I am teaching my grandmother to suck eggs.

The gorge which goes from Le Rozier to Mayueis is one that he probably knows and is particularly spectacular when viewed from the platform above Grotte Dargilan.  Johnny Ifold might like to know that they now collect the post daily (in joke!)

Over in the Vercours (Esso map ref. V13 and 14) there are several notable gorges and cirques.  The Grands Goulets (not to be mistranslated!) used to be ignored by the locals.

Changing to your article on knots.  You are quite right to point out that the more vicious bends make a more anti-¬slip knot but generally weaken the system.  I doubt if this is as important with man-made fibres as with natural.  I have tried to tie the knot by the method shown, but I can't make it match the completed picture.  Perhaps you would like to check.  I wouldn't be surprised if one of our ex-navy members writes in to say that he has known this knot for years under another name.  If you don't get any response, try John Ransome.

There should be no trouble lifting a quarter of a ton with an ordinary caving or climbing rope.  A climbing rope in good condition will have a breaking strength of at least a ton and a half.  It needs to, to withstand the shock of a hundredweight and a half body falling from above a belay to end up suspended the same distance below. Any rope, stressed to this limit, should survive that particular episode but NEVER be used for climbing again.

Changing yet again to electronics for caving.  Like you, I too am on the fringe of electronics, although I try to keep in touch with modern developments.  The ideal one to one system is obtained by designing the receiver to be as quiet as possible and have a gain which just makes the background noise audible. (This does not apply to broad¬cast systems.)  Modern transistors and OP AMPS are infinitely quieter than some of the early transistors and should be seriously considered.  The U.S. Navy has worked underwater systems both with audio frequencies and with V.L.F. Carriers.  George Honey, who appeared to know what he was talking about, suggested a 150Hz carrier.

I have seriously considered organising a meeting (teach¬-in/seminar) on underground communication, but pressure of work puts this off until around or after the A.G.M. Perhaps we could sound out the electronics experts before and at that time to see if such an event was worthwhile and who could usefully attend.

Yours,
" Sett "

Editor's Note:     On knots, I believe that I said the knot has to be 'pushed together' to tighten it, as it is so non slip that it won't do this for itself.  You get slightly different looking versions according to how you do this, but topologically they are all the same knot. I have tried John Ransome, who does not know the knot.

CLANGS On B.B. 306 of this year's B.B., the clinometer was, of course, read to 10 MINUTES OF ARC not feet.  The confusion arose because the sign 10' is the same for both measurements!


 

Hazards of Cold Water

A report on the Paul Esser Memorial Lecture by Alan Thomas appeared in the B.B. for Feb.  This, sent in by Oliver Lloyd, is the official summary of the lecture.

Summary of the Paul Esser Memorial Lecture delivered on 14th February 1973 in the University of Bristol by Prof. W.R. Keatinge.

Some of the most exciting sports are the dangerous ones, but the risk becomes quite small if the hazards are under stood.  Of all these, water sports take the greatest toll of human life: about 1,000 deaths a year, compared with about a dozen on the mountains.  Death from shipwreck results more often from cold than from drowning.  Old fashioned equipment was designed to provide flotation rather than to protect from cold, but ideally both should be provided.  Since the last war, much research has been devoted to the study of body cooling of volunteers, with core temperature measured by electric thermometers. These give most reliable measurements when swallowed to lie just behind the heart.

Body Cooling

Thin men cool faster than fat men, because the layer of fat insulates the body core.  The cold causes the blood vessels in the fat to shut down.  Channel swimmers are usually fat.  The usual summer sea temperature here is about 150C (590F).  At this temperature, fat men have a distinct advantage over thin.  For thin men, the critical water temperature at which heat balance is possible is about 200C (680), while for fat men it is 100C (400F).

 

Below these temperatures, the rate of body cooling is uncontrollable, even by shivering.  The rate of body cooling can, however, be reduced.  Firstly, keep still, because exercise in water (unlike air) always accelerates body cooling, if the water is cold enough to threaten life. Secondly, keep on as much clothing as possible as this will slow down the rate of cooling.

 

The same principles apply to children, who often seem to tolerate cold water better than adults.  This is an illusion.  They cool more rapidly, both because they are usually thinner and because they have a larger surface area of skin in relation to body weight.  Girls generally cool more slowly than boys, because they are fatter.  In one experiment, one boy cooled as much as 3.20C (5.760F) in 33 minutes.  All the children who looked really cold were found to have core temperatures of less than 350C (950F) - the normal being 370C (98.40F) which is a fairly serious degree of hypothermia.

Cold Vasodilatation.

At temperatures near freezing point, the protective shutdown of blood vessels in the skin becomes reversed due to paralysis of their muscular walls.  The resulting vasodilatation accelerates cooling, particularly of the hands, from which heat pours out of the body.  The practical answer to this is a wet suit with gloves. Whales and seals, do not get cold vasodilatation at low temperatures and so their blubber will always protect than against heat loss.

Sudden Sinking.

Professor Keatinge quoted the case of a young athlete out sailing in the winter on a reservoir, when his boat over turned.  He had only fifty yards to swim to the shore, but after he had got half way he shouted that he couldn't go on, and sank.  Cramp may be ruled out, as he was in good training.

Study of skin reflexes to cold shows that respiration is accelerated, and air is not expelled from the chest as fully as usual.  The heart accelerates; the cardiac output doubles and the blood pressure goes up. Possibly the over breathing in choppy water might cause water to be inhaled; but a more important finding was that irregularities of heartbeat occurred (ectopic ventricular beats). These occurred in 10 to 15% of subjects on being immersed in cold water.  After a few minutes these irregularities ease off, because the nerve endings in the skin adapt to the cold.  None of these things accounted for the sudden sinking of the lad in the reservoir, so that it became necessary to design an experiment under controlled conditions which would imitate the circumstances.

A good swimmer dressed up and got into water at 4.70C (400F) and started to swim, but within 90 seconds he sank and had to be pulled out.   We were shown a film of the next swimmer repeating the experiment.  First we saw him over breathing, due to the cold water on the skin.  Then he began swimming but was holding his head high out of the water, which is tiring. He quickly began to get exhausted and to make small mistakes.  After 7½ minutes he had to stop and be pulled out.  On the bank he was utterly exhausted but within a minute and a half was talking cheerfully.  “I don't know why I couldn't”, he said, “I just got exhausted; I couldn't go on.”

The explanation why cold water is more exhausting than hot is very simple and has nothing to do with hypothermia.  This man had no drop in core temperature.  It is that cold water stickier (more viscous) than warm.  It is trying to swim in treacle.

Editor's Note:     The dynamic viscosity of water is 1.5138 at 4 degrees centigrade but drops to 1.0019 at 20 degrees. Thus, water not far from freezing is half as viscous again as water at a comfortable temperature.

Practical Advice

Always wear a life jacket when sailing.  If you have to abandon ship on the open sea, make sure you are fully clothed or wear a wet suit.  Don't exercise yourself, but keep afloat until rescued.  The natural thing to do is to swim about.  This is one case where the natural thing is the wrong thing to do. If you are caught in cold water without a life jacket, do not swim for the shore; cling to the boat until rescued if rescue is on the way.

When a subject appears to have died from hypothermia, do not despair.  Plunge him, if possible, into a bath of water as hot as the hand can stand. This is a life saving measure if done early.  The hot bath should not be continued after a satisfactory heart beat and respiration are restored.

Alcohol taken before immersion in cold water does not noticeably accelerate heat loss and makes the ordeal more tolerable.  On the other hand, if taken after two hours of exhausting exercise, it can cause a dramatic fall in blood sugar, which eliminates the ability of the body to control temperature, and so may be lethal.  So if you take a hip flask up a mountain; take some sweets as well.

Editor's Note:     I am obviously wrong here, but I have always been under the impression that alcohol dilates the surface blood vessels and, by thus warming the skin from inside, makes the subject feel warmer although he is in fact getting colder. Perhaps Oliver might care to enlarge on the effects of alcohol, this being a subject of some interest to the B.E.C!

Notices

The committee would like to thank Andrew Nicholls for his work in getting our rates for the Belfry halved.

Older members may like to hear that 'Mo' Marriott was married on June 30th.

The committee wish to announce, that, having accepted the resignation of Rodney Hobbs from the committee and the post of Belfry Engineer, this post is now vacant.  Martin Bishop has been asked to fill the post in the meantime and is thus Acting Belfry Engineer and an applicant for the position. Will any other applicants please get in touch with any committee member as soon as possible, as the committee have little time left in which to act.

The committee wish to announce that, in accordance with the instructions of the last A.G.M., they have chosen Barry Wilton from the candidates offering themselves for the job of Hon. Treasurer to take over from Bob Bagshaw at the end of the club financial year (31.7.73.).  Barry has accordingly been co-opted on to the committee.


 

Minutes of the 1972 A.G.M.

The first of two parts of the official minutes of this meeting.

The meeting opened at 2.35 with some 52 members present.  The Hon. Secretary called for nominations for a Chairman.  D. Hasell, R.A. Setterington and S.J. Collins were nominated.  D. Hasell said that he would not be able to attend the entire meeting and the meeting therefore voted for the other two.  Votes were in favour of Setterington (20-14) who was thus declared Chairman.

The Chairman then called for the ballot papers but queried their validity since there had been a departure from the usual practice.  The Hon. Secretary explained the system he had used, which was designed to ease the work of the tellers.  Each paid up member had been sent a form, which he did not have to sign.  There were no spares and thus no member could send in a second form.  Dam Hasell then proposed a resolution to declare these forms valid.  This was seconded by Pate Franklin and carried unanimously.

The Chairman then called for three tellers.  Mrs Meaden and Mrs Palmer were suggested from the floor.  Dan Hassell volunteered to act as the third teller.  The Chairman then called for member’s resolutions, a number of which were then handed in.

The Chairman then moved on to the minutes of the 1971 A.G.M.  These had been published to all members and he therefore ruled that they be taken as read.  He asked for any objections to the minutes.  There were none, and Frank Jones proposed their adoption.  This was seconded by Maurice Iles and carried without dissent.

The Chairman then asked the meeting whether discuss the minutes.  Mike Palmer asked whether a list of tackle had, in fact, been produced. Dave Turner said that Bill Cooper had published an incomplete list in the February B.B.  Mike Palmer said that next year's Committee should be instructed to take more positive steps to ensure that the tackle was known and listed and generally looked after.  Alan Thomas said that in many ways the Tackle¬master had proved unsatisfactory, but that Dave Turner had since taken over and was sorting the problem out in a keen and efficient manner.  The Chairman said that perhaps further discussion could be left until the Tacklemaster’s report came up for discussion.

The Chairman reminded the meeting that Income Tax was another subject left to the committee by last year's A.G.M. Bob Bagshaw replied that this had now been agreed with the tax inspector.  The Chairman also reminded the meeting that no report had been received in 1971 from the Climbing Section.  Nigel Jago replied that a report was, in fact, published after the A.G.M.

Dave Irwin brought up the problem of the showers.  The Chairman suggested that this be raised later, when the Belfry Engineer's report was up for discussion.

The Chairman asked whether a Librarian's Report for 1971 had ever been published.  Various people agreed that it had not.  There were no further items arising from the minutes of the 1971 A.G.M. and the Chairman moved on to the Hon. Secretary's Report.

The Hon. Secretary said that his report had not been published in full.  Owing to circumstances beyond his control, the remainder of the report was not in his hands and he would therefore have to give an impromptu report to the meeting.  He said that this was a great pity, since he had spent much time in choosing the wording of the original.

He said that the main reason for his remarks in the open¬ing of the written report was the presence of factions within the club to an extent which, in his opinion, was quite unprecedented. He said that he felt that the solidarity of the B.E.C. was in some danger and instanced a similar state of affairs which had occurred a few years ago in the Shepton Mallet Caving Club. He said that some people considered the Hut Warden's attitude to have been hypocritical.  This, he said, was completely untrue.  The Belfry is being efficiently run and is cleaner tidier than it has ever been.  However, a group of fun makers have been staying away and making a laughing-stock of the B.E.C. in the Hunters.  He appealed to all members for a more tolerant attitude towards each other and added that club officers should not be denigrated in the official reports of other officers.

The Chairman then called for a discussion on both the written and verbal parts of the report. Tony Meaden said that the Hon. Secretary had mentioned trouble with our neighbour Mr. Foxwell in his written report and asked if the meeting could have a fuller explanation, which Alan then gave. Mike Palmer then asked why the committee appeared not to have taken suitable steps to resolve this matter. Jock Orr said that the B.E.C. was not really a party to the dispute but merely happened to be sited between the participants.  Opinion was divided on this point, with some speakers arguing that the club was involved whether it liked it or not, while others urged the club to stay out of what appeared to be a dispute between two other parties.  The general feeling of the meeting on became apparent at one point at which a speaker suggested that we keep out until we are forced to join in. This was greeted with a general murmur of approval from the floor.

After a further discussion, Mike Palmer put forward a proposal which was seconded by George Honey “That the subject of access to ours and Mr. Foxwell's land over land belonging to the Dors family be investigated by the next      committee, who should seek legal advice.”  An amendment was proposed by Alan Thomas “That the word 'independent' be inserted before 'legal'”.  This was seconded by Jock Orr and the amended resolution passed unanimously by the meeting.

Dave Irwin said that the remarks in the B.B. appeared to cast a slur on Dave Turner.  (The page in question being part of the written report from the Hon. Secretary) and asked if these remarks could be struck from the record. Jock Orr said that he thought the remarks were fair and implied no criticism of Dave in an form.  Mike Palmer said that his reading of the page in question brought him to the same conclusion as Jock Orr.  Dave Irwin said that he still thought that the remarks should be struck off and formally proposed their deletion.  This was seconded by Phil Kingston and defeated by 5 votes to 10, all the remainder of the meeting abstaining.

A discussion then arose as to whether club members receive sufficient information on committee matters and, in part¬icular, whether more should be published in the B.B.  Roger Stenner proposed that all such matters be left to the Editor’s discretion.  This was seconded by Kangy and carried without dissent.  Bob Bagshaw then proposed the adoption of the report. This was seconded by Dermott and carried nem. con.

The Hon. Treasurer's Report followed.  The Chairman said that this had been published but asked the Hon. Treasurer if he would like to add anything to his written report.  Bob said that he had no additions to make, but perhaps the Auditor's report should be read at this stage and both reports discussed together.  The Chairman then read the Hon. Auditor's Report to the meeting.

Jock Orr said that the Auditor’s Report was very good and should be implemented.  Mike Palmer queried why the report had not previously been published.  Joan replied that it was a recommendation to the Treasurer and as such had not been published.  Nigel Jago suggested that it should be a part of the Agenda in future.  This was formally proposed by Jock Orr, seconded by Dave Irwin and carried 23-2 with the remainder abstaining.

Alan Kennett proposed that Joan and Roy Bennett be appointed as auditors for the forthcoming year. This was seconded by Bob Cross and carried without dissent.  Phil Townsend asked whether the committee could be instructed to look for a new Treasurer in view of Bob Bagshaw's announced retirement.  The Chairman agreed, and said that there was no need for a formal vote.

Roy Bennett said that we could go into a loss situation unless the costs of the B.B. were reduced or the subs increased.  George Honey suggested a bi-monthly B.B. and additional charge for postage.  Alfie replied that he had sounded out the club on a quarterly B.B. with small newsletters filling in the gaps, and that the club had come out overwhelmingly in favour of continuing the B.B. in its present form.  He said, however, that some small economies could perhaps be made on the postal side. Dave Irwin pointed out that publications other than the B.B. had shown an apparent loss, but this had been due to a peak on spending and would not show as an overall loss over a period of time. In reply to a suggestion that surpluses in other departments could be used for the B.B.  Dave said that these surpluses were for the Belfry and that it had always been agreed that the B. B. should be financed from subscriptions. Jock Orr said that the B.B. must continue as a monthly publication.  Dan Hasell amplified this by saying that he had always considered the B.B. to be an important part of the club and if the only way to keep it as it ought to be was by raising subscriptions, then this would have to be done.  Barry Wilton wished the meeting to know that he fully supported Dan' s arguments.  Mike Palmer wished to enquire whether subs were paid by members solely for their copies of the B.B.?  A discussion along the lines already described went on for some time and eventually Roy Bennett asked for a new vote on the frequency of the B.B.  This was taken, and produced 28 in favour of continuing as a monthly and 7 in favour of its being a bi-monthly.  Dave Irwin then proposed the adoption of the Hon. Treasurer's Report.  This was seconded by Andy MacGregor and carried nem. con.

The Chairman pointed out that the discussion just over had taken up much time and that there was a lot of business still to get through.  At this stage, the tellers brought in their results, which the Chairman read out by announcing the successful candidates in order of votes cast. These were:- R.J. Bagshaw; T.E. Large; A. Thomas; R. Bennett; S.J. Collins; D. Irwin; J. Orr; M.A. Palmer and N. Jago.

The Caving Secretary's Report followed.  This had been published and the Chairman asked if there were any comments.  Alan Thomas asked the Caving Secretary whether he thought that the B.E.C. was the best club on Mendip.  The Caving Secretary agreed that this was indeed the case. Andy MacGregor then proposed the adoption of the report.  This was seconded by Roger Stenner and carried nem. con.

The Climbing Secretary's Report - also previously published led to no discussion and was adopted after a proposal to the effect by Kangy, seconded by Barry Wilton.

The Tacklemaster's Report followed.  This was read to the meeting by the Chairman. Alfie asked whether Bill Cooper had handed over all the tackle which should exist.  He was assured by Dave Turner that this was so.  A discussion on tackle followed which resulted in the proposal to adopt the report being put to the meeting by Andy MacGregor seconded by Alan Thomas and carried without dissent.  A vote of thanks to the Tacklemaster was proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Tim Hodgson and carried without dissent.

The Hut Warden's Report followed.  This had been published and the Chairman asked if there were any questions.  Mike palmer said that the receipts from Tackle Fees were very disappointing and thought that this could be a result of the Cuthbert’s Leader’s Meeting having agreed to do away with them.  Dan Hassell asked if the Cuthbert’s Leader’s Meeting was competent to take such a decision.  He said that he understood that all decisions taken by that meeting required to be ratified by the committee.  Alan Thomas said that this was correct, and that the Committee had not heard about this suggestion from the Cuthbert’s Leader’s Meeting.  Jock Orr said that he had had fees from some Cuthbert’s Leaders but not from others.  Joan Bennett queried the use of the storage heaters and asked whether there was any rule to say when they were allowed to be used.  Jock replied that they would be used when it got cold enough. Joan said that she thought this could be very expensive.  This led to a discussion on fuel costs which in turn led to a more general discussion on Belfry Expenditure.  Dave Irwin proposed that in view of this discussion and the previous discussion on the cost of the B.B. “The committee should look into club finances in the widest possible context before any move to put up the subs was contemplated.” Jock pointed out that the Belfry had made a surplus.  Nigel Jago asked why we no longer kept a barrel fund going if we were hard up. Nigel Taylor replied that we were a Caving and Climbing club, not a travelling drinking club.  This led to a lively - if not spirited - discussion, which was eventually resolved by the seconding of Dave’s resolution by Alan Thomas, which was then voted upon and carried without dissent.  Dave Irwin then proposed the adoption of the Hut Warden's report, which was again seconded by Alan and carried.

The Hut Engineer's Report had been published and the Chairman invited comments.  Kangy asked if the roof had been insulated yet, as it had a considerable bearing on fuel costs.  He was told that it had not, but would be before the winter came.  Nigel Taylor proposed the acceptance of this report. This was seconded by Bob Bagshaw and carried without dissent, as was the Librarian Report, which the meeting adopted without discussion.

A short discussion on the Editor's Report revealed a request for photographic material in the B.B. The Editor pointed out that photo litho plates cost 23/- each and wondered in view of the financial discussion whether it was the wish of the club to make the B.B. more expensive to produce.  The report was adopted after this had been proposed by Tony Corrigan and seconded by Pete Franklin.

The Caving Publications Report was adopted without discussion by the meeting, its adoption being proposed by Andy MacGregor and seconded by Dermott Walsh.

The Chairman then turned to the remaining business of the meeting, at which point Mike Palmer proposed an adjournment in view of the volume of business still to be discussed. George Honey queried this and asked if the Chairman could read out the remaining business so that the meeting could decide whether to adjourn or not.  On hearing the rest of the business from the Chairman he seconded the resolution to adjourn. This was carried unanimously by the meeting.

The Chairman then announced that the meeting stood adjourned to 2pm the next day at the Belfry.


 

Travels with a Test Tube

The first in this series appeared in the B.B. for February and the editor apologises for the delay in printing Roger Stenner’s second instalment!

Pollution studies took me next, in July, to Norway.  Several days were spent in splendid weather in fjords in Western Norway.  The people are very friendly towards Britons, who have no language problems because so many Norwegians speak perfect English. A lot of rain made the waterfalls very spectacular and the high roads still lay between huge banks of snow.  Skiing was still in progress high in the mountains.    Minor roads are surfaced with oiled grit, swept and repaired almost daily.  They are not for timid drivers or drivers with a poor head for heights. The fjords are deep, cold and clear and full of hungry cod.  Ferries are an integral part of the transport system.  They are regular, efficient and cheap.  After the first work in the fjords, I took the Great North Road into the arctic circle, for more work in the fjord complex starting at Bodo.  The tidal race at Saltstraumen causes a huge set of whirlpools; the biggest in the world I'm told.  Here, I managed to surprise the locals, who were catching two pound coalfish, by taking a 15¼ lb. cod on freshwater tackle.  Sitting back feeling pleased with myself, I noticed two huge birds circling overhead - white tailed sea eagles.  With the work finished and the mini packed up with my specimens, it was time to travel south again, towards Sweden where I would meet George Honey again. Before that there was time for a detour near Mo-i-Rhana to Gronligrotten a show cave not too far south of the Arctic Circle.

From the car park in a clearing in the forest at the foot of a valley wall, along path winds steeply upward towards the cave.  Visitors are warned to allow twenty minutes to reach the cave.  In hot sunshine, with sample bottles, C02 analyser, thermometers and cameras and wearing enough clothes for a cold cave, this time was about right.  By the cave entrance is a little kiosk, making a fortune from the sales of cold drinks. The entrance fee is paid here and, as well as post cards, they sell surveys of the cave.  As show caves go, this one is a little unusual. Photographs are permitted and people who wish can go down without a guide, as long as they have their own lights. The only help for tourists is a couple of planks; some fixed steel ladders and the odd handrail - not a place for open-toed sandals - and the guides! - two very pretty girls took it in turns to guide the parties.

The cave is fairly small, with about two thousand feet of passages and is about 320 feet deep. Water from a fairly big surface stream leaks through boulders to one side of the stream, re-appearing in the cave after about a thousand feet.  The cave is in very odd looking rock.  The Great ¬Oones like entrance leads into a fairly steep, boulder strewn bedding plane passage.  The main route lies to the left.  The stream is seen briefly entering on the right.  It is soon lost, re-appearing in a photogenic little waterfall.  It soon disappears again into a small slot, but it can be heard lower in the cave.  The flat roof is covered with drops of water, condensing on the cold rock from air made warm and moist by the stream.  After about six hundred feet, where the show cave ends, a passage leads upwards to another entrance.  Part of the floor was dust covered ice.  Back at the junction, a passage to the right leads to a flat out crawl over dry sand. The roof soon lifted in an obviously solutional passage.  A little climb to avoid a dangerously corroded ladder led to smaller and steeper passages.  At the top of a vertical rift, I turned back.  It was silly to start taking risks alone; without a reserve light; loaded with gear and in a foreign land.  Instead, it was time to start taking photographs and measurements.  After crawling round in a little maze, a big passage led back into the middle of the tourist route, by-passing the flat out crawl.

Back on the surface once more, there was time to admire the scenery.  Above, a noisy raven was slowly circling.  All around was the dense forest and across the valley gleaming in the brilliant sunshine was the Schwarteisen¬glacier, the second biggest in Europe.  The ferry needed was out of action, so I could not visit it but the cave made a pleasant break in the work programme.


 

Eskdale 1971

Tony Tucker sends us this account of what was obviously a typical B.E.C. visit made to the Eskdale area in November of 1971.

We left Bristol from Gulliver's Travels at Bedminster at about 7pm.  Eleven of us (I think) and piles of gear roped on top of the Transit and stacked inside - with us sitting in any empty space we could find.  Pete Franklin was driving and things went reasonably well until we left the motorway - apart from occasional attacks of cramp etc. However, a few miles further on, Bob Cross (our rough country navigator) proceeded to get us lost as best he could. While he was looking at a map to try and find the most devious route possible, we came across a small town which suddenly leapt up out of the night and, before he could stop us, we all jumped out and staggered to the local chippy - all the pubs being shut.

After a sumptuous feast of F & C. – and I can thoroughly recommend that chippy ~ though for the life of me I can’t remember where it is - we set off again and, after pushing the Transit up a steep hill complete with hairpin bends (it looked like a ruddy mountain in the moonlight!) we finally drove into Boot.  We were meant to be there at midnight but what with Bob's mountain roads etc., it was 1.20am when we arrived.

The Burnmoor Inn was still open and we all piled in demanding ale.  That is a pub with a difference!  Jose, the landlady is quite a character and she runs the place with her husband and Eric the barman.  We sat in a corner of the room for mutual protection against her approaches, where we cringed and supped our ale.  Steve Spratt had an interesting experience, but I can't go into details because Alfie wouldn't print them.  We staggered out at about half past three and unfurled our sleeping bags in some dilapidated cottages across the street.

On the Saturday, we again visited the pub for morning drinkies, where we found Jose and Eric crawling around on the floor looking for his false teeth.  Just a quickie, whilst deciding where to go.  Decided on a visit to Wastwater.  The weather by this time had taken a turn for the worse and when we arrived at Wastwater it was incredibly damp, with an evil swirling mist writhing up from the lake.  The only thing to be done, of course, was to go to the pub which lay conveniently situated just outside the car, and to stay there until they chucked us out. Eventually, we were thrown out and, as the weather was still somewhat unpleasant, the majority of our group decided to walk round the lake and then drive back to Boot.  However, three stalwarts; Crange, Steve Spratt and myself, decided to go up Scafell, down the other side, and back to Boot across country. That was in theory.  In practice it was a trifle different.  Part way up, we lost Steve and thought that he had fallen in the lake.  We called out but received no answer, so we looked for him but failed to find any trace. By this time, we were rather worried, thinking that the Demon of the Mountain had carried him away.  A few minutes later, I stumbled and nearly fell over Steve, who was lying beside a boulder.  As he was wearing black waterproof clothing, we hadn't seen him. When asked the reason for this odd behaviour, he said he was tired and had decided to lay down.  We couldn’t argue against this logic, so after a fag we carried on.  When we were about three quarters of the way up, the weather began to clear - only to be replaced by darkness.  By this time, we were crossing what could be described as a scree slope composed of very large boulders.  After negotiating this obstacle, it was almost pitch black, so we held a meeting to decide whether to go on or to turn back.  The intrepid Crange wanted to go on, but we said that it was foolhardy and dangerous as we had no lights.  It was decided by two votes to one to go back down and return to Boot along the road - a distance of sixteen miles.  We walked about eight of them when all of a sudden we were drawn by a strange force inside a building which, on examination, proved to be a public house. The gods were on our side at last, and we settled down with a pint of beer.  It was then decided to phone our people at Boot (the beer having cleared our heads) and tell them where we were just in case they were getting worried. We did this, and Peter said that he would come and collect us.  We didn’t argue.  On the way back to Boot, we were told that the other party had raided a sawmill and swiped enough timber to last us the night (supplemented by some old furniture from the cottages.)  We all had a meal and decided to visit a different pub for the evening’s refreshment. We accord¬ingly snuck off and, after an enjoyable time, went back to the Burnmore Inn.  Jose was furious, accusing us of only coming back when the other pubs were shut (which was true.)  However, she soon calmed down and we started supping again.  There was a group of Yorkshire lads in the room as well and we soon had a good singing match going – foreskins in the sky and all.  Jose became quite upset because nobody was taking any notice of her, so we sang ‘Edelweiss’ all the way through, upon which she broke down and told us how she had been raped by the Nazis during the war.  The singing then continued until about 4 a.m., when we began to stagger off to bed.  Bob Cross was highly slewed and kept apologising for bringing us to such a terrible place.  We told him to shut up and that we were enjoying it immensely.  After several people had been ill we eventually got to sleep.

On Sunday, we arose late and partook of a light breakfast then packed our gear for the ‘off’.  I tabled a motion that we should go into the pub to say farewell and there ensued a considerable debate over this - the opposition  being led by Crange, who said that he had forgotten his key and unless we left soon, he would be locked out.

However, the outcome was soon decided, and once again we trooped into the pub.  The B.E.C.’s ever present thirst had won again.  More beer.  We left before closing time (I think) and proceeded to Wrynose Pass where we had to de-bus again to allow the Transit to get to the top. By the way, going back to first thing that morning, I forgot to mention that when we at last woke up, it was to find that it had snowed during the night and that all the mountain peaks were covered in a layer of crisp new snow – a wonderful sight.

At the top of Wrynose, Cross and Glossop engaged in mortal combat with dry cowsh.  Bob came off worst.  We remounted the wagon and set off down Hardknott Pass, a terrifying descent.  Most of the time we couldn’t see the road in front because the descent was so steep - only the valley floor hundreds of feet below.

A ghastly odour was gradually wafting its way through our vehicle, which was traced to Bob who was still liberally bespattered with cowsh.  We forced him out of the Transit to enable him to dunk his head in a nearby stream, to get rid of the awful pong.  At this stage, our forward progress was halted by a horse which, as it was without rider, decided to delay our journey for as long as possible. Bob, refreshed by his icy wash, and with his brain still numb from the shock of the cold water, was heard to say, “Leave this to me, lads.  I've got a way with horses.”  We duly left it to him as requested and sat back to watch the show.  We were not disappointed.  Bob walked up to the horse, muttering words of encouragement in its ear.  No notice being taken of this approach, Bob decided to push it out of the way.  The horse objected to this treatment and tried to bite Bob, who retired rapidly.  We then urged him to ride it away, but the horse looked him in the eye, obviously trying to decide which bit to bite next and, when having finally made up its mind, it moved towards him to put its decision into effect, Bob leapt into the Transit with commendable agility.  We removed it eventually by nudging it gently off the road with the vehicle.

Fog on the M6.  We nearly got lost at Spaghetti Junction and wound up at a pub outside Cheltenham.  While the rest of us were drinking, Crange phoned home to explain that he had forgotten his key and to arrange a method of entry into the ancestral home.

We arrived back in Bristol about midnight after a most enjoyable weekend. Special thanks to Bob Cross, who arranged the trip and also to the rest of the party, without whom a lot of the atmosphere would have been missing.

Those present were: Joyce and Pete Franklin (our driver, thanks, Pete!) Brenda and Barry Wilton, Sue Gazzard, Tony Tucker, Bob Cross, Keith Glossop, Crange, Steve Spratt and Rod Hobbs.

Notice

The Caving Secretary would like to remind members to write up their trips.  The write-up does not have to be lengthy - merely the date; cave; leader and party if there is nothing else to put.  If trips are not written up, the committee gets a false impression of the amount of caving being done and - apart from anything else - may not be so keen in spending money in this direction - so WRITE IT FOR YOUR OWN SAKE!


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 35.

1

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

 

 

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

1. Fret Choir in Cuthbert’s. (5,4)
6. Green on Mendip. (3)
7. Steep hill face. (4)
8. …will do it (see also 13.) (2)
10. Hauls. (5)
13. …excess. (see 8). (2)
14. Add fuel to fire on Mendip. (5)
15. Signal on line perhaps? (3)
17. Warty type of Mendip cave passage. (6,3)

Down:

2. Use this in caving? (4)
3. Concerning. (2)
4. Underground pile. (6)
5. Hill on E. Mendip. (4)
6. Possess. (6)
9. Digging implement? (6)
11. Caving adjunct. (3)
12. Agitate. (4)
13. Type of stal. (5)
16. Agreeable sound. (2)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

 

E

 

B

 

S

L

A

G

S

T

O

U

T

 

E

 

A

 

O

 

L

 

B

A

L

L

S

 

E

B

B

 

D

 

E

N

U

T

 

E

 

E

O

N

A

 

R

 

E

R

R

 

A

T

R

I

P

 

O

 

L

 

C

 

E

 

S

P

O

I

L

H

A

R

D

 

E

 

P

 

 

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.

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tele: WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     R. Bennett
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; M.J. Palmer; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; R. Orr.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. THOMAS, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. BAGSHAW, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. LARGE, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 27 Quantock Rd, Windmill Hill, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
Hut Warden:      R. ORR.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Assit H.W.        N. TAYLOR, Whiddon, Chilcote, Somerset.  Tel. WELLS 72338.
Hut Engineer:    M. BISHOP, (Acting)  Address to follow..
Tacklemaster:    M.A PALMER. 27 Roman Way, Paulton, BS18 5XB
B.B. Editor:       S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tel: PRIDDY 369.
Pbs. (Sales)      C, Howell, 131 Sandon Rd., Edgbaston, Birminham.
Publications:     D.J. IRWIN.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

MENDIP RESCUE ORGANISATION.  In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481


 

Editorial

The I.D.M.F Show

This B.B. contains, amongst other things, the minutes of the second part of last year's A.G.M. - that dealing with the proposal to change the rules governing the Ian Dear, Memorial Fund Committee.  The rules as finally amended have not been re-published in this B.B., because they have already been published.

It was, of course, tempting to think about putting out this section of the minutes as it was displayed for some time at the Belfry - all in rhyme - but that would hardly do for the official account.  I should, however, like to draw the attention of club members to the Minute Taker's Note at the end of these minutes, as they were extremely difficult to get on to paper at the time.  I hope that they will not lead to too many amendments at the next A.G.M.

Tackle

Talking of A.G.M.'s - as we are bound to as the time for the next one approaches - there is always one subject which is guaranteed to provide talking space for a whole meeting to itself, and that is the subject of tackle.

This year, almost certainly, the question of what is to be considered as the accepted usage of caving tackle will be brought up.  Should lifelines be used for prussicking?  If so, under what circumstances and how does one decide when a club rope has had enough?  Is abseiling on club lifelines O.K.? - and so on.

There are people who think that any technique which involves the deliberate placing of one's entire weight on to a single rope should only be carried out on a rope which is the personal property of the man involved.  Others have other views.  Some prussicking devices are said to be far from gentle in their treatment of a rope. Should these be classified, with some being approved and others not?  What about the use of comantle ropes?  These are a few of the questions which seem to require answers.  Time is, as always, likely to be too short for a full debate on these questions to be conducted at the A.G.M. itself.  Perhaps it would be a good idea if as many people as possible could thrash out some of the points involved beforehand.  Needless to say, the pages of the B.B. are open to anyone who wants to make points on this subject, so that their ideas can be put before the club in time for others to hear about before the A.G.M.

“Alfie”

Don’t Forget

.. that the A.G.M. will be held at the Belfry on Saturday, on Saturday October 6th at 10.30 a.m. The Annual Dinner will be held that evening.  Details will be published in the next B.B.

New voting forms will be sent to all members and, under the new arrangement YOU CANNOT GET A SPARE FORM so make sure that you send the form you get back to Alan, or that you bring it with you to the meeting.

Any resolutions should be SECONDED and either sent to Alan in advance or brought with you to the meeting. This does not prevent you proposing a resolution at the meeting, but helps the chairman to know what is coming up if you make sure he gets it by the start of the meeting.

Finally, don’t forget that only PAID UP members are entitled to vote!


 

Langstroth Pot

An account of this pot by Buckett Tilbury.  The manuscript arrived with a pencilled comment that it had been checked by Graham Wilton-Jones, which makes it the O.K.  High Wycombe account!

The entrance to this fine pot is best found by leaving the road opposite the ancient stone circle, and climbing the fell which takes the caver gradually into a shallow gully. Follow this gully up until a small stream is encountered sinking near a tree.  Just down the gully from this sink is an insignificant slot in a hollow of rock.

To enter, it is best to go feet first on one's side, and as the feet slide over the edge of the first climb, feel for the holds.  This is an easy climb of twelve feet into a small chamber.  The guidebook calls this the first pitch but no ladder is required. From the chamber, slide down by a flake of rock to the bottom of a small rift passage.  The floor of this passage drops to an awkward wallow in a deep pool under a boulder.  The rift continues round a couple of bends until the roof suddenly drops to give a flat out crawl on one’s side.  This section of passage is about seventy feet long and about half way, the floor gives way to a small slot, which means that one is traversing as well as crawling. The passage emerges on to a ledge in a walking size passage with an inlet from the right.  Turn left and walk along ledges to climb back to stream level. A short walk leads to where the stream drops down a tight slot under a stale bank.  This is the duck.  Go down the slot into a deep pool under the stal bank with about a foot of airspace. Follow the stream as the floor rises and the passage is a flat out crawl in a small canal.  This ends as the stream goes over a small drop.  Follow the stream or crawl on the ledges to a large boulder.  Emerge either from under or over the boulder into good walking size passage with the stream in the floor.  It is fairly easy going over or round boulders until the stream disappears in the floor and the boulders meet the roof.

The next section is an involved and intricate series of crawls and squeezes until one enters a small chamber with an inlet on the right.  A short climb to the floor of the chamber and a tiny hole is observed in the left hand corner.  This is the Slot.  If you are of slim build, you just stick your feet in the slot and slide gently down to rejoin the main stream in a tight rift passage.  If, on the other hand, you are like most of us and suffer from too many visits to the Hunters, you stick your feet in and get somebody to jump up and down on your helmet, which has the effect of pumping you through.  Getting back up the Slot is extremely difficult. The length of the Slot is about six feet.

From the bottom of the Slot, turn right and climb to the top of the tight rift and traverse along to a slight widening of the passage at the top of the Second Pitch.  The belay is a large flake of rock in the left-hand wall. A ten foot tether and forty foot ladder is just right.  The take off point for this pitch is awkward and tight, but after the first few feet, it opens out into a large high chamber.  The pitch is broken by a ledge and the pitch is wet.  From the ladder, cross the chamber and pass under or over a group of boulders to a smaller chamber with a large ledge and some good straws in the roof.

The Third Pitch follows quickly and there are plenty of good belays with a sling belay and a forty foot ladder.  The climb is dry and down into another chamber.  Leave the chamber, following the stream into a high narrow winding rift passage.  This passage is superbly decorated with helictites along its length - some up to five inches long.  Luckily, most are above shoulder height and so avoid damage.  This passage is a terror to boiler suits and wet suits as it is covered with sharp projections.  The rift ends with a sharp turn left and changes to a bedding plane with a canyon in the floor.  The formations of this section are good, and as the roof lowers the canyon disappears until it becomes flat out crawling in the stream.

The floor drops away in a gulley and the top of the Fourth Pitch is encountered.  A good belay on the ledge on the left is used for the sling belay and a twenty five foot ladder.  A nice climb against the wall in the stream brings one into a circular chamber where the colour of the rock has changed from a dirty black to a soft grey. There is a short section of easy passage leading to the top of the Fifth Pitch.  A flake belay on the left can be used for a sling and twenty foot ladder. This pitch is also wet, and lands in a chamber similar to the last pitch.  The stream is then followed over some small cascades to the top of the Sixth Pitch.  This pitch needs no ladder as it is a ten foot easy climb.  If the water is high, a rope may be useful for the return climb. This pitch can also be bypassed by traversing over the top and climbing back to the stream about thirty feet past the pitch.  A short section of cascades past a large inlet on the left brings one to the top of the Seventh Pitch.

The inlet starts as a high rift passage up which one climbs to a small chamber.  There is no obvious way on from here, but if a short climb is made up the right hand wall, a small rift is found.  Following this rift, the method of progress ranges from hands and knees to flat out crawling in water, as there is a small stream.

The belay for the Seventh Pitch is a bolt low down on the right hand side.  The twenty foot ladder climb is in the stream and against the wall all the way down and the landing is in a deep pool of water.  If the stream is normal the pitch can be made dry by somebody with a large rear end sitting in the stream above the cascade and damming the water to the pitch.  This just gives enough time to get up or down the pitch, unless the person doing the damming has a warped sense of humour, in which case you receive a deluge on the head. From the bottom of the ladder, follow the stream passage, which is mostly easy walking, past some fine arrays of formations on both sides of the passage.

At one point here, the passage enlarges to form a chamber which is filled across the floor with a loose gravel and boulder fill.  This fill is falling from a huge choke in the roof, which is probably the bottom of a large aven.  The water from here on is almost waist deep in places and there are several gravel banks to negotiate.

A change of passage to a series of cascades indicates the approach to the last pitch - the Eighth. A short climb down to a blank wall, a short step to the right, and one is looking through a large 'V' shaped opening into a large chamber.  The belay is a bolt on the right hand wall and the pitch is wet.  A forty five foot ladder lands in a shallow pool in which lie some lengths of old maypoles.  Round the corner from this chamber, one comes face to face with the sump pool.  This sump has a line through it but it is not recommended as a free dive.

On the last pitch, we operated a 'two up, two down' system which did away with the need for a double lifeline.  This pitch can also be made reasonably dry by the same procedure as that described for the Seventh Pitch.

Double lifelines were used on the Second and Third Pitches with a follow-through line on the rest. It is very difficult to get the line to the bottom of the Second Pitch from the top.

This is a fine sporting pot with excellent formations to reward those who make the effort to get past the first difficult sections which make the carrying of tackle very arduous.


 

Minutes of the 1972 A.G.M.

….being the minutes the second part of the 1972 Annual General Meeting.

The adjourned meeting reconvened at the Belfry at 2 p.m. on the Sunday.  By 2.10, a count revealed 26 members and the Chairman declared the meeting open.  To allow further members to arrive, he said that he would take a member's resolution first, before dealing with the Ian Dear Fund rules.  Thus, a resolution proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Dave Irwin that "The expression 'full' and 'Junior' membership should gradually be dropped, but that we continue to charge younger members less" was put to the meeting.

Alan Thomas explained that the word 'Junior' was objectionable to some younger members. Jock Orr said that he had not found this to be the case.  In reply to a question as to whether the intention of the resolution was to modify the subscription for younger members, Alan said that this was not the case. There was no further discussion, and the Chairman put the resolution to the vote.  It was defeated (2-12) with the remainder abstaining.

The proposed changes to the rules for the Ian Dear Memorial fund were dealt with next.  The Chairman put a general resolution by Joan and Ray Bennett to the meeting that "In order to save time, discussion of the proposed changes to the rules shall consist of firstly the submission of formal amendments to any of the propositions, followed by discussion and voting on the amendments.  Finally, the whole set of resolutions, amended or otherwise, shall be voted for en bloc."  This resolution was passed by the meeting with no discussion with 24 in favour and one against.

There were no amendments proposed for rule 1.

In rule 2, Dave Irwin proposed the deletion of the word CERTAIN and the substitution of the word YOUNGER members in line with Ian's will.  Bob Bagshaw said that, in fact, the will mentioned 'Junior' members. Dave replied that he would therefore accept 'Junior' and Bob seconded the amendment as now worded.

A discussion then took place on the subject of what Ian might have done had he been with us to-day. Amongst the points made, Alan Thomas said that Ian's intention was that the money should be used for the purpose he specified and that we must therefore arrange to use it, even if this meant altering the conditions to suit changing circumstances which Ian could not have foreseen.  Dave Irwin maintained that once we started to put words into Ian's mouth, as it were, there might be no limit to this process and that in any case; the money was always there to be used in the way that Ian specified if the right circumstances arose. After this discussion, the Chairman put the amendment to the meeting, and it was carried by 19 votes to 11.

Joan and Roy Bennett tabled an amendment to Rule 3 as follows: “The fund will be administered by an Ian Dear Memorial Fund Committee of five members.  This will consist of the Hon. Treasurer, the Caving and Climbing Secretaries and two other members who will be elected annually at the same time and by the same procedures as the General Committee.  The previous year’s ordinary members would be automatically nominated and would carry on in office if no other nominations were received. The aforesaid committee will report to the Annual General Meeting.”  This amendment was carried without dissent.

In discussing rule 4, Dave Irwin pointed out that the same argument which had been put forward in the case of rule 2 applied here also, and that logically, rule 4 should now be deleted in its entirety.  A discussion on the lines already reported took place, with George Honey, speaking as an old friend of Ian's, coming out in favour of altering the conditions in line with present day requirements.  Dave Turner proposed that the conditions should include members under 18 years of age or full time students.  This was seconded. Dave Irwin said that this would be contrary to the will and reiterated his point that rules 2 and 4 were now incompatible.  The discussion reached a deadlock.

The Chairman pointed out to the meeting that the amended rule 2 specified the word 'Junior' which, in our club, had a specific meaning and thus any attempt to alter this by rule 4 could not be done.  Furthermore, because the meeting had accepted an arrangement whereby it had confined itself to carrying or defeating the entire set of rules en bloc; if it wanted a rule 4 of any sort, its only course of action now open to it would be to vote now on the rules as they stood, reject them en bloc, and start the procedure again - this time being careful to avoid any incompatibility between rules.

Dave Turner then withdrew his amendment and Bob Bagshaw proposed that all discussion be terminated. This was seconded and carried unanimously.  The Chairman then called for a vote on the proposals en bloc.  This was then defeated unanimously and Jock Orr then proposed Roy and Joan's original proposal again.  This was seconded and accepted by the meeting.

Discussing rule 2, Dave Irwin said that he still felt it should specify 'younger' members.  A further discussion took place on the lines previously reported.  Dave Irwin maintained that the will must in all cases be adhered to strictly, while George Honey was in favour of any changes which would make it more easy to administer.  Dave Turner suggested that the definition of who can benefit be left to be specified in rule 4, while rule 2 merely mentions 'members' who would then be further specified in rule 4.

Dave Irwin said that he had no objection to this as long as the conditions of Ian's will were adhered to. Dave Turner said that rules 2 and 4 could be regarded as being mutually unnecessary.  A vote was finally taken on and it was passed with 28 in favour and 1 against.

Rule 3 was accepted unanimously with Roy's amendment as previously.

On rule 4, George Honey suggested that the definitions of the exceptions should come out.  This was seconded by Peter Lane.  Dave Irwin suggested that this could still leave rule 4 open to interpretation. After a short discussion, the chairman put the amendment to the meeting and it was carried with 25 in favour and 5 against.

No amendments were suggested to rule 5.

Mike Palmer tabled an amendment to rule 6, that "The maximum amount of monies allocated in anyone year shall be left to the discretion of the I.D.M.F. Committee. The maximum amount allocated to any individual is unlikely to exceed twenty pounds per trip."  This was seconded by Dave Turner and carried by the meeting.

An amendment to rule 7 from Joan and Roy Bennett read “The fund to be invested in a building society or similar scheme and the interest retained within the fund.”  Alan Thomas suggested that the investment should be left to the discretion of the treasurer but agreed that the interest should be retained within the fund.  Roy and Joan then withdrew their amendment in favour of Alan's, which was seconded by Joan Bennett.  The amendment was carried with 7 against.

Mike Palmer then proposed an additional rule 8.  "The elected chairman shall give a report as directed from time to time by the A.G.M." but the Chairman ruled that this was already covered by rule 3 and Mike Palmer then withdrew.

The amendments en bloc were then put to the meeting, and carried with 3 against.

The Chairman now dealt with the remaining member’s resolutions, the second of which was proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Dave Irwin "That nobody should be able to propose or second membership applications until his own /membership has been ratified."  Bob Bagshaw asked whether a resolution of this type was necessary, pointing out that the committee could always refer a form back if it thought the proposer or seconder inadequate.  After a short discussion, during which the proposal was agreed to amount to a constitutional change, it was proposed that the matter be brought up at next year’s A.G.M., with the committee looking into it meanwhile, as the subject hardly warranted a special committee investigation. This was carried by the meeting with 3 against.

The Chairman said that a number of proposals had been given in which all affected voting methods, and asked those who had proposed them if they would agree to have them taken together. A discussion arose as to whether changes in the constitution would be necessary.  Alfie proposed that a committee be set up to investigate.  If no constitutional changes were required by their findings, the changes in voting procedures could be implemented by the General committee in time for the next election.  If changes to the constitution were required, then this would count as the year's committee stage required by the constitution and the changes could be voted on at the next A.G.M.  This was agreed to by the meeting.  Bob Bagshaw asked if the committee could have directions from the meeting, and mentioned specifically whether the meeting wanted a secret ballot or not.  In order to get the feeling of the meeting, Bob proposed that the ballot be not secret. This was seconded by Tim Large and defeated (9-20).  The Chairman reminded the meeting that this was advice, not direction.

The Chairman said that another set of resolutions all affected the A.G.M. and Dinner, and asked if these could be taken and discussed en bloc.  The meeting, after a short discussion on whether the A.G.M. and dinner should continue to be held on the same day; day this or these should be; and where they should be held, Alfie proposed that the A.G.M. should be held at Belfry at 10.30 a.m. on the first Saturday of October; followed by the dinner the same evening.  This was seconded by Mike palmer and carried (30-7).

The Chairman then took a resolution by G.E. Oaten, seconded by Brenda Wilton "It is proposed that a check shall be made at each A.G.M. on the persons present to determine who are fully paid up members and entitled to vote."  Dave Turner said that anybody can point out strangers on a point of order at present, and what does 'any sum in respect of membership' mean in clause 41 of the constitution?  Joan said that it only meant subscriptions.  After some further discussion, the chairman ruled that clause 41 should be enforced but decided that a resolution to this effect was not necessary since the constitution already assumed that it would, in fact, occur.

The next resolution was from Mike Palmer, seconded by Nigel Jago, "That all members co-opted to the committee in any year of office shall not automatically be considered as nominated for re-election to the new committee."  The, chairman said that this was undoubtedly a change to the constitution and suggested that it would, with the agreement of the proposer and seconder, be easier if it was minuted as a recommendation to the committee.  Mike said that he now wished to withdraw the proposal.  Tim Hodgson then said that he would propose it himself and his proposal was seconded by Nigel Jago.  A vote was taken and it was defeated (3-20).  A suggestion was then made that, since we had had a chairman's ruling that the proposal should be minuted as a recommendation to the committee, should it not now be minuted as a recommendation against this course of action, since the meeting had defeated the proposal?  The Chairman put this to the meeting informally.  The meeting decided to drop the entire matter.

A resolution by Barry Wilton, seconded by G.E. Oaten "That any committee post which becomes vacant should be advertised in the B.B. so that every member has the opportunity to offer his services" was taken next.  A short discussion followed and Alfie proposed an amendment to add the words 'wherever practicable' after 'B.B.'  This was seconded by George Honey and carried unanimously.

A resolution by Mike Palmer, seconded by Pete Franklin, that “The 72/73 committee consider and report on the effects of adopting the following as an amendment to the present electoral system:~ That any member who serves on the committee for three consecutive years shall retire automatically for one year before standing again for the committee.” was taken next.  After a very short discussion, the motion was lost by one vote (15-16).

The next resolution was "That the committee shall, in future not accept for membership anyone unless they are reasonably sure that he or she has been caving or climbing with the B.E.C. for at least six months."  This was proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Dave Irwin.  Joan Bennett said that this is one of the reasons why we have a probationary membership.  Sid asked how effective this was in practice.  Alan said that nobody had, as yet, been refused ratification. Joan pointed out that in some cases ratification has been postponed.  Dave Turner said that a new member must make himself known, but Dave Irwin said that such an arrangement had no teeth.  Joan disagreed and said that the power was there.  The Chairman called for a vote, and the proposal was defeated (6-19).

The next resolution, proposed by Alan Thomas and seconded by Tim Hodgson was "That the committee should investigate and report to next year's A.G.M. on the possibility of forming a B.E.C. Special Branch of the British Sub Aqua Club."  This was put straight to the vote and carried by 13 - 7.

Another resolution by Alan Thomas, seconded by Dave Irwin "That future Officers' Reports should not be published in the B.B. or, alternately, the B.B's containing officers' reports should be restricted to club members."  A short discussion followed in which it was argued that by having the reports in the B.B., time was saved at the A.G.M. and that the reports did not become lost.  On the other hand, it was sometimes politic not to publish to strangers all the matter of an officer's report.  The Chairman said that he felt this was something which could be worked by the general committee if the meeting so wished.  A was taken, passing the resolution in principle but referring the actual mechanism whereby the best arrangement could be obtained to the committee. (25-3)

A resolution limiting life membership in certain circumstances was withdrawn after a Chairman's ruling that the Secretary should write to all Life Members once a year at their last known address asking them to confirm this and, on getting no reply, should cease to communicate with them.  The meeting endorsed this ruling and, there being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 5.10 p.m.

Minute Taker's Note: 

Parts of this session of the meeting became very difficult to follow and record. I have made every attempt to reflect the feelings and conclusions of the meeting but those who attended will realise why I ask that some allowance be made in reading what I found very difficult to write.

S.J. Collins.


 

Zulu’s Cavelet

Nigel Taylor sends in a Grade 1 survey of this modest addition to the Caves of Mendip.  One imagines that, since the cavelet is described as being in the working face of the quarry, it will only enjoy a brief existence, and this may therefore be the only description of it to be published.

The Cavelet is in Cloford Quarry, and was surveyed by Nigel in December 1972.  The Grade 1 survey is shown below.


 

The Problems of Cave Conservation & Access and the Encouragement & Control of Novices from Non Caving Club Organisations

Ian Calder sends in this article in response to the recent one on the future of club caving.  He points out that there is a large measure of agreement and says that 'any comments would be gratefully appreciated'.

There is no doubt that, at the present time, there is an ever increasing number of people entering caves in this country on caving trips, and consequently there is a large number of people descending a cave for the first time.  It is also becoming more evident that especially (but not only) in open access caves, a lot of unnecessary and permanent damage is being done, as well as an awful lot of temporary spoiling in the form of leaving litter, carbide and dirtying formations.  Finally, it also appears that there is an increase in call-outs for Rescue Organisations, especially from non-caving club organisations such as scouts, schools youth clubs and so on.

The first point to decide is to what extent there is a link up between these three developments.  It seems reasonable, and in many ways inevitable that the more a cave is visited the more likely it is to be damaged or destroyed.  Indeed, any visitor is almost bound to move stones, leave footprints (even digging equipment and fuse wires) touch formations etc. and thereby damage the natural state of the cave.  Potentially, however, I am sure that the novice caver is more likely to do damage than the experienced club caver for the novice is more likely to move awkwardly and stumble over formations; miss tapes marking off grottos; leave litter and carbide behind etc.  One has only to consider the difference between Swildons Hole and St. Cuthbert’s Swallet, the first with open access and frequently visited by novice or semi-novice cavers, and the second gated and operated on a leader system which tries to exclude novices from the cave.  However cavers ought to be reminded of the damage which has been done in gated caves like St. Cuthbert’s, Shatter Cave and Balch Cave before laying all the blame on novice cavers.  Perhaps each caving club ought to run its own programme for its novice members to try to ensure that these members develop a conserving, exploratory and considerate approach to caving rather than a competitive approach (on the increase at the moment) which makes them bash on regardless of people or formations fun order to achieve their objective.  It seems reasonable to say, then, that the more a cave is visited the more it will be damaged and the more it is visited by novices to a greater extent it will be further damaged.  One can only assume therefore that if novices or non club cavers were prevented from entering caves, then such caves would either be preserved for a longer period or be considerably less polluted.  Whether this be true of all caves is debatable, for example - Porth-yr-Ogof, Goatchurch Cavern or Eglwys Faen all seem to me to be caves where no more damage could really be done and where club cavers are as a result not worried about their open access.  On the other hand, there are still a number of caves such as Swildons or Little Neath, which still have a great deal worth preserving and which also have open access.  If we wish to preserve the features which are left in such caves, it seems that some sort of limited access must exist.  This implies gating such caves unless there is a particularly hazardous entrance as may be found in Little Neath Cave or Eastwater Cavern which would, in fact, prohibit visits by novice cavers.  Such caves are few, and even these may be argued not to have really effective barriers and we are therefore left with gating as the only effective system of control. Two main problems now arise:-

1.                    Who or what is going to control the access to gated caves?

2.                    To what extent will non caving club organisations be able to enter them?

At the present time we have a National Caving association and a number of regional bodies formed in the main to present a united front to fight for access rights to some of the more important caves, especially in Yorkshire.  At first sight it would seem reasonable that such a national body should control the arrangements for all gated caves so that there would be one organisation fighting both for access rights and for the interests of caving in general.  This, however, could lead to abuse, and in this connection it is interesting to note that the Northern Council is denying access to caving clubs who will not join them.  Is this in the interests of caving?  Are they not trying to bring cavers into line, as it were rather than fostering the best interests of the caving fraternity?  The N.C.A. has the power of distributing government grants and thus there is a danger of sponsoring some aspects or clubs more than others and ultimately of being able to dictate to caving clubs.  It is interesting to note that, in the last allocation of money, the British Association of Caving Instructors (B.A.C.I.) received £200 while the Southern Council received £10.  This surely means that the N.C.A. supports and wishes to promote the work being done by B.A.C.I., who are themselves strongly promoting their scheme, especially amongst Local Education Authorities for teachers and youth workers. Like the Mountain Leadership Certificate is now, the B.A.C.I's certificate will soon be a requirement for teachers and youth workers (whether they be cavers or not) in order to take non club caving trips.

So much for the present situation, but let us consider how this could progress.  If we have a national body, it is bound to be the body consulted by the Department of Education and Science; but it could also become the body empowered by government, or having government backing, to bring every cave in the country under its control.  From this position, the easiest way to administer such control would be to demand that every trip was led by someone with a certificate in Cave Leadership.  Hence I foresee regimented caving being dictated by some remote body AND I CONTEND THAT THIS IS WHAT THE CAVING WORLD IS LEAVING ITSELF WIDE OPEN TO.  I would also contend that even the administration of gated caves on a regional basis would be open to some sort of misuse.  WE MUST REALISE THE POSSIBLE OUTCOMES BEFORE WE GIVE POWER TO SUCH BODIES, FOR AFTERWARDS IT MAY BE TOO LATE.

The sort of system of control I would advocate would be one by which particular clubs administer particular caves with other bona-fide clubs having either a key or some form of easy access to the caves.  The onus would then be on the club involved to run its cave or caves the way it thought best.  This way, there would be little room for power politics and a far greater chance of a club being able to develop good relations and agreements with land owners. This way, a much better feeling would exist between cavers and landowners from which only good would come. The only real problem would concern novices.  If they were from a caving club then obviously that club would be responsible for that trip, but what about trips from non caving club organisations? There seem to be three possibilities. (1) You ban them and thereby cut down the number of novice cavers considerably.  (2) You allow such trips if the person leading is a member of a club holding a key to that particular cave.  However, being a good caver may not ensure being a good leader of novice trips.  For example, cave divers or hard sporting cavers may not be the best people to run such trips.  Experience may not of itself make a good leader, since experience may be good or bad.  We may remember that Einstein could not teach elementary physics and therefore we must not fall into the trap of thinking that the leader needs only to be experienced. (3) You allow such trips if you know that the adults in charge are competent and will conduct the trip in every way as well as it would be conducted if it were a novice club trip - that is, with interest, safety, exploration and conservation being the factors involved. The problem is how one assesses this to be the case.

Whether such trips are going round easy, un-gated caves such as Goatchurch or Eglws Faen, or not, what qualities would we expect from the leader or organiser of such a trip?  I believe there are basically three factors involved.  (1) That the person in charge should know a fair bit about caves in general and have the sort of approach to caving that I have already mentioned.  (2) The person should know the various techniques involved in caving and in the particular cave he is intending to use and (3) the person concerned should be a good leader.  The second factor and much of the third can be learned over a period of time and if necessary by going on courses specifically for this purpose.  The third factor, and having the right approach is extremely important and, as most people will agree, impossible to assess in a course type situation.  However, a teacher will have spent at least four of five years learning about and being with young people and, I would suggest, is the best sort of qualified person to have these vital qualities.  Ideally, then, the person in charge of such trips should be a teacher and either an experienced caver or have spent some time interested in caving and been on some recognised course where he could learn the relevant techniques.  Would cavers and Local Education Authorities be prepared to accept the sort of proposals I have just mentioned?

Whatever happens, the number of people visiting caves is going to increase.  Such a scheme as I have outlined would have several advantages. Firstly, responsible and interested people would be in charge of such trips, leading to safer caving and some possibility of keeping our caves in a better condition.  Secondly, such trips could only take place in certain suitable caves.  Thirdly there would be no need for any sort of national body to administer a certificate or have any other such power thus halting the present advance towards regimented caving.  Finally, courses for teachers would have to be run in conjunction with the local caving clubs.  Would caving clubs be prepared to help caving in this way?  If so, the burden of responsibility would lie fairly and squarely with Local Education Authorities and could not be shelved behind the stalactite curtain of a certificate which NEITHER ENSURES ACCIDENT FREE TRIPS NOR AN EDUCATIONAL APPROACH TO CAVING.

To summarise, one has first to decide between open access and conservation.  Is gated or restricted access too high a price to pay for conservation?  If so, can we do any thing to educate people to go to open access caves and treat them in a reasonable and conserving way? If not - we have all the ensuing problems of restricted access - to whom it is restricted and who is going to do the actual restriction.  A careful and detailed study must be made here to ensure that the answers to these questions do not interfere with the spirit of caving as an exploring science and as an interest which brings together people from all walks of life.

Editor's Note: Well, I did ask for contributions on the subject!  Apart from going down caves, the problem of how we manage to preserve our way of life on Mendip is the most important thing cavers can think about.  It is interesting to see how much general agreement there is between this article; that published recently in the Wessex Journal; my recent one on this subject, and what went on at the recent meeting of the Southern Council.  Given luck and good management, there seems a good chance that cavers on Mendip have woken up to the threats them and are prepared to act together - with a bit and take - to meet them.

For the benefit of Ian and others, the problem of what to do about the increasing requirement from Local Education Authorities for caving trips for novices was raised by the Wessex Cave Club in their Journal, and their proposal for a scheme based on the caving clubs was put to the C.S.C.C.

A booklet on safety recently issued by the Department of Education and Science mentions the BA.C.I. Certificate in its section on caving, and it was pointed out by some of the educationalists present that although the booklet did not suggest that this was the ONLY qualification; because no other alternative was quoted, an impression would be formed by its readers that the B.A.C.I. were the only body which could or would grant some sort of cachet in this field.  The acceptance of the Wessex scheme by the Southern Council would have the advantage of getting this scheme into future issues of the booklet as an alternative based on existing caving clubs.

The Southern Council were in favour of this basic idea, but thought that the alternative scheme would carry more weight as a Southern Council scheme rather than one from a particular club. The scheme is at present being looked into by a small committee who will report to the next meeting of the C.S.C.C. at which, hopefully, the scheme will be passed.  Local Education Authorities will then be able to deal with caving clubs on a cooperative basis in the sort of manner that Ian suggests.

While we don't want to bore members with too much of this sort of thing in the B.B., it must be emphasised that the present time is one in which Mendip cavers are faced with a number of problems which can be solved but which, if left to solve themselves, will result in a state of affairs which will not suit the vast majority of cavers. It is thus very important that the B.B. plays its part in keeping these matters in front of its readers because otherwise, the days of the B.B. and the B.E.C. itself could well be numbered.


 

A Pressing Point

(For pressing on in Pressing Water!)

Some useful advice sent in by Nigel Taylor, who we hope will not mind the slight tidying up of the scansion!

Since the Great Flood of July sixty eight
We all can do Swildons at much greater rate
No longer at Forty do we have to wait
As down to the Twenty we travel on straight.

Yet this happy change ought to make us all pause
For unlucky weather could give us just cause
To worry if floodwater once again roars
And a powerful jet from the new Eight Foot pours!

Because if this happens it may be too late
To know of no way to get back past the Eight
And have to remain till the waters abate
Or succumb to some dreadful and watery fate.

So therefore all cavers, I really must urge
By means of this short but appropriate dirge
That to make an escape from the floodwater's surge
Learn to free climb the forty - and live and emerge!


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 36.

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

6

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

12

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

16

 

 

 

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

6. Under the church in Stoke Lane? (5)
7. Place tackle. (3)
8. Behold. (2)
9. Feature of caves…. (5)
10. ….which this explains. (5)
12. …excess. (see 8). (2)
13. “….straight on.”  Is the U.B.S.S. motto. (2)
16. Appropriate word. (3)
17.Mistake much discussed in cave surveying. (5)

Down:

1. Climb. (5)
2. Always old fashioned. (3)
3. Makes injured caver longer? (9)
4. Cuthbert’s 12 across. (5)
5. Hunters pot less a direction is long time past. (3)
10. Fills up….. (5)
11. …..these formations. (5)
14. 1 down is an attribute of this. (3)
15. Long and Short Swildons Ways. (2)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

O

C

H

R

E

R

I

F

T

 

A

 

E

 

U

 

E

 

O

R

E

 

S

C

A

R

P

W

E

 

B

 

K

 

N

 

N

 

P

U

L

L

S

 

L

 

S

 

C

 

E

 

T

O

S

T

O

K

E

 

T

U

G

 

I

 

E

 

A

 

F

 

P

R

E

T

T

Y

W

A

Y

 

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.

Club Headquarters

‘The Belfry’, Wells Rd., Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tele: WELLS 72126

Club Committee

Chairman:         S.J. Collins
Minutes Sec:     R. Bennett
Members:          R. Bagshaw; D.J. Irwin; M.J. Palmer; N. Jago; T.E. Large; A.R. Thomas; R. Orr.

Officers Of The Club

Hon. Secretary: A.R. THOMAS, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269.
Hon. Treasurer:  R.J. BAGSHAW, 699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4.  Tel: WHITCHURCH. 5626.
Caving Sec:       T.E. LARGE, 39 Seymour Ave, Bishopston, Bristol.
Climbing Sec:    N. Jago, 27 Quantock Rd, Windmill Hill, Bedminster, Bristol 3.
Hut Warden:      R. ORR.  ‘The Belfry’, as above.
Assit H.W.        N. TAYLOR, Whiddon, Chilcote, Somerset.  Tel. WELLS 72338.
Hut Engineer:    R. HOBBS, Rose Cottage, West End, Nailsea, Bristol.
Tacklemaster:    M.A PALMER. 27 Roman Way, Paulton, BS18 5XB
B.B. Editor:       S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr. Bristol.
Librarian:           D.J. IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Wells, Somerset.  Tel: PRIDDY 369.
Pbs. (Sales)      C, Howell, 131 Sandon Rd., Edgbaston, Birminham.
Publications:     D.J. IRWIN.  Address as above
B.B. Post:         Mrs. K. Mansfield, Tiny Kott, Little London, Oakhill, Bath, Somerset.

MENDIP RESCUE ORGANISATION.  In case of emergency telephone WELLS 73481

Editorial

Cave Politics

Every sport requires a certain amount of 'behind the scenes' organisation - and ours is no exception. What sticks in most people’s gullets is the thought of people revelling in the organisational aspects of caving instead of getting down holes and actually doing it.

Unfortunately, such people do exist - and what is more, it is getting to the stage where caving clubs can no longer ignore what is going on.

We therefore make no apology for running, as our main article this month, one which deals with this subject.  We are not alone in this, as the current issue of the Wessex Journal also devotes some space to this subject.  We urge readers to take the time to think about what is amid, and to make sure that the club acts in a suitable manner to counter any future threat to caving as we understand it.

Sit. Vac

For a variety of reasons, many of the members of the present committee will not be standing next year. Now, as always, is a chance for younger members to come forward and help to run the club.  There is only one snag - it means a fair amount of work!

“Alfie”


 

Swinsto Hole

An interesting article on one of the major cave trips possible in this country, written by Derek Sanderson

Although the winch was still on at Gaping Gill, it being a bank holiday, we (Roger Wing, Keith and Derek Sanderson) elected to attempt a through trip in Kingsdale by abseiling down Swinsto Hole and emerging through the valley entrance.  This was quite an undertaking for us, as we had never done any real abseiling before.  Neither had we done Swinsto by ladder, though I had done Simpsons Pot next door and Keith knew the master cave from the valley entrance.

We arrived in Kingsdale early and found it deserted. We entered the master cave via the valley entrance to ladder the twenty foot pitch which would bring us out.  The valley entrance consists of an upturned oil drum leading to a long winding tunnel-like passage of stooping height after passing a low duck.  It took thirty minutes to ladder the pitch and return to the surface.

The climb up the side of Gragareth to Swinsto was hot work in a wet suit but didn't take too long. We took with us three 120 foot ropes; two twenty five foot ladders, some belays and a long string of karabiners! Well, we didn't know what we should find in the cave!  Once one has pulled the abseil rope down from the first pitch, there can be no turning back. The karabiners were for use if we could not find suitable belays - the ladders were for use on any pitches that looked too dangerous and the ropes were for lifelines and spares in case the abseil rope snagged and had to be left behind.  All proved unnecessary, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

We entered Swinsto at 11 a.m. and followed the tight short entrance tunnel of grey smooth rock to the head of the first pitch of nineteen feet.  We passed the rope through the ring of the eyebolt located low on the right and spent a little time getting used to the descendeur and slings before dropping down the short pitch in only a trickle of water.  The rope came down easily, and we were committed to going on!

There are two ways leading from the small chamber at the bottom.  Right leads to some avens, whilst to the left is the Swinsto Long Crawl - a thousand feet of hands-and-knees crawl in six inches of water. This, however, proved to be not as tedious as we expected and it was soon passed.  We then found ourselves at the head of a thirteen foot climb which we went down by abseiling.  There is no fixed belay here but a smooth spur of rock to the left is adequate for the purpose.

The climb is followed, after fifty feet of pleasant stream passage, by the second pitch of 23 feet which leads into a small chamber.  There is an eyebolt in position and the descent is in water, though this does not encumber the pleasure of abseiling down such a smooth circular pot.

The passage turns to the right at the bottom and becomes a narrow rift of grey rock with the stream flowing through it.  After a short distance, progress is halted at the third pitch of 22 feet.  This pitch has no eyebolt, but a large deposit of pasty calcite directly above the pitch serves as a perfect belay point from which the abseil rope can be retrieved.  The rocks at the bottom are browner in colour and there is a pool into which one drops about waist deep.

From here, the way on is under a pile of loose boulders into a section of pleasant streamway where one is halted suddenly at the head of the fourth pitch.  This is more formidable, being 46 feet deep and followed immediately by the 42 foot fifth pitch from a sloping ledge.  There is an eyebolt here.  I descended first to see if a belay point had been installed on the ledge. There had.  We passed both pitches without any difficulty but with considerable satisfaction.  The descents are invigorating, especially the first, where the walls are smooth and one is constantly in the water.

At the base of the fifth pitch, an old abandoned pot can be seen round to the right, whilst the way on is via a rift passage which, after turning to the left, becomes the traverse where one can either clamber over the water on powdery brown rocks, or follow the stream at low level.  The streamway is tight but not difficult.

After the traverse, the passage remains narrow and descends through a number of pots until the stream sinks amongst boulders and the way on is to the right through a comfortable passage of smooth scalloped light brown rocks.  After a sharp turn to the left and crossing some pools, we climbed down a flake of rock into a short chamber from which the passage dropped through a 19 foot climb which we abseiled.  There is no fixed belay point here, but there is a smooth spur of rock on the right which is suitable.

From the bottom of the climb, only a few feet of passage leads to the sixth and last pitch of 23 feet into a wide chamber with the stream re-emerging from the opposite wall. The belay point here is a sturdy wooden stemple wedged across the passage.

From here, a low level passage leads into the Cascades, a high narrow passage which passes over several climbable pots in sculptured rock until a high aven is passed on the left. This is the base of Slit Pot and is the junction of Swinsto and Simpson’s Pot. Downstream is a 12ft climb and squeeze over boulders into East Entrance Passage - a dull, tiring, flat-out crawl about two hundred feet in length leading to Master Junction.  A map is advisable here.  To the right, a pleasant streamway affords comfortable walking to the ladder which we had placed for our exit.  We emerged from the valley entrance at 2.30 p.m., though the trip could have been done in a much shorter time by cavers more familiar with the system.  However, we were very satisfied with ourselves.


 

Hard Rock Caving

An interesting look at 'how the other half lives' and an offer of an exchange by George Honey.

or~ HOW ANOTHER CLUB ORGANISES ITS A.G.M.!

The air-conditioned coach left the centre of Stockholm at midnight on the 30th of June, bound for Nordmaling - some six hundred miles to the north for the A.G.M. of the S.S.F. (Swedish Caving Club).  About twenty of the hundred or so members had joined the coach, so there was plenty of room except for my knees.  (The average Swede must be shorter than an Englishman, for they certainly pack the seats in!).  Sleeping soon became impossible, as the sun was up at about 2 a.m. and, even with the air conditioning, it soon became very hot.  We stopped once or twice on the way up at transport cafes - roadside Hiltons compared to the one I used to know on the A4!

We arrived at Ava "Gastis" at 9 a.m., and drove into a cluster of painted buildings - a 'wandershome! which was going to be our home for the next few days of A.G.M.

I had a quiet sleep to awake to find a lunch on.  Outside it was stinking hot (the usual Swedish summer ) and a local sports shop had on display a range of tents, rucsacks and kayaks for us.  All were of the very best quality and extremely light and not expensive.  After a super meal of salmon given by the local council, we listened to a talk about that district of Southern Lapland which is about the size of Yorkshire.

At 7 a.m. next morning, we were called, breakfasted, and were into the coach and away to the fells. A quick three caves before eating our packed lunch and then another three afterwards.  This routine went on for three days.  The pace was killing, but it ensured that everybody who was at the A.G.M. had at least seen a cave that year!

Now about the caves. There are three types, all in granite or diorite (another old igneous rock).  The first type is a glacial scratch, where the glaciers have dug out a narrow cleft which may have been roofed by a subsequent rack fall.  The second type has been formed by water during one of the ice ages.  A vertical crack which had developed in the bedrock became filled with stones and water from the overlying ice and due to turbulence, wore out the shape shown. The 'window' has in some cases opened out due to subsequent frost damage .

The third type is a pure fault.  A vertical crack.  I went down a hundred feet of one of these on ladders made out of fir trees.  Note the use of fixed tackle.  From the bottom, we went back up another fault which was a giant boulder ruckle about ten feet wide and a hundred and fifty feet high.

Of course, I forgot to say that to get to any cave in this area requires an hour of two walking through pine forest or up a mountainside.  Caves could be described as easy but access difficult.  The pressmen got there however, since caving is a rather unusual affair in Sweden.  I, of course, managed to get the B.E.C. a mention in the local paper.

As I said, it was an impressively organised weekend with lectures on geology, speleology and with film and slide shows from all over Europe.  The A.G.M. itself was like any other club's A.G.M. and I was asked to look into the possibility of arranging an exchange meeting with the B.E.C.

There are medium sized limestone systems, as Roger Stenner can verify (I have an article of Roger's which has been mislaid for some time, but which will appear in the next B.B. - Editor.)  Most of these caves are of the Goatchurch style.  One thing that is impressive is the immense size of the country making even a simple cave into a big trip.  What the S.S.F. would like would be a week on Mendip with tourist trips down Cuthbert’s, G.B. and Swildons and the like so any ideas, please?

Editor’s Note.    One hopes that the club will manage to find the time to act as hosts to the S.S.F. and even perhaps be able to organise a return match.  I must say that I like the idea of the local council laying on meals for the caving club.  Imagine up going down to Cheddar for our A.G.M. only to find that the local council have turned up in force and laid on a free lunch complete with local cheese and cider.

Changes of member’s Addresses

423. L. DAWES. The Lodge, Main Street, Winster, Nr. Matlock, Derbyshire.
594. P.A. WILKINS, 55 Eighth Avenue, Northville, Bristol, BS7 OQS
731. R.BIDMEAD, 63 Cassell Rd, Fishponds, Bristol.
707. R. BROWN, 26 Cranleigh Gardens, Luton, Beds.
808. J.A. HUNT, 35 Conygre Rd, Filton, Bristol BS12 7DB
        K. JAMES, Baytree Rd, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

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

Mike Palmer, our Tacklemaster, would be very interested to hear any members who would be prepared to help make tackle.  His address is at the front of this B. B,


 

The Future Of Caving Clubs

In this article, a word of warning is sounded about the possible dangers to caving clubs, and a guide to their avoidance.

by S.J. Collins.

Reader 's views are welcome on the above subject

The Club System

A caving club designed to suit its particular needs seems to rank highly among the requirements of the average caver.  One has only to glance at the lists of clubs which are published from time to time to realise just how many clubs are operating on Mendip today.  It is certain that there are more clubs at present than there were cavers when I personally started to cave.

Now it is considerably easier for a small group of young cavers to join an existing club than it is for them to start a new one. Apart from all the obvious snags like getting hold of tackle, their club is bound to lack many of the less tangible advantages built up over the years by the larger and more well established clubs.

In spite of this, quite a proportion of cavers have preferred to take the hard way, and this process has been going on here on Mendip almost as long as has caving.  The case appears to be well made that some cavers have been, and still are, prepared to go to considerable lengths to construct clubs to suit their particular requirements rather than to join ready-made clubs.

There are, of course very many new cavers who prefer to join existing clubs - and have quite a large choice. For this choice - or indeed, that of founding their own club, to be effective - clubs must, like individuals, have distinct personalities and differ from each other by all the usual attributes such as age; experience; character; wealth; influence and the like.

Thus, whatever the outlook of any individual caver might be, the fact that he can exercise considerable choice in the type of organisation he joins or creates represents a freedom well worth preserving.

Unfortunately, there are factors which - if one takes a pessimistic view - could well lead to the destruction of the club system and if, as I have contended, cavers value the existence of the club system; it will be instructive (to say the least of it) to examine what is happening and what may well happen in the near future, so that clubs can act in a manner which will preserve them.  This applies equally to their dealing with each other as to their approach to bodies external to them.

Forces Acting Against The Club System

These can be reduced to three main forces, all of which can be made to reinforce each other, which fact should be borne in mind constantly when considering them individually.

  1. Access. The main difference between caving and climbing is that caving is extremely vulnerable to control by access.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to put a ring of barbed wire right round a whole mountainous area; but ridiculously easy to control the specific and narrow entrance points to caves.  Thus, any body which gained significant control of cave entrances in a caving area would be in a position to dictate terms to caving clubs and, if it wished, to control them completely.
  2. Finance. For many older clubs, the days of operating on a shoestring are now part of their history.  Such clubs have heavy outgoings such as rates; insurance; maintenance etc., and must operate on a reasonable scale merely to keep afloat.  This makes them financially sensitive and any real curtailment of their operations could quickly result in a financial crisis from which an interested external body might agree to rescue them - at a price.  This is the same technique as pushing a man into a river and then offering to pull him out in return for certain concessions.  This could well be used as another lever by which control could be exercised against the wishes of a caving club.
  3. Centralisation. A situation could well arise in which the loyalties of club members were gradually weakened by the activities of central bodies.  This is likely to take the form of a gradual erosion of club functions and - like all insidious processes - it will be tempting to ignore it until it becomes too late.  If this actually happened, and clubs were thus persuaded to destroy themselves, it could be argued that they had merely exercised their own free choice in the matter.  Against this line of argument, most of the older clubs owe a considerable debt to past (but still interested) members who have worked hard to build up that club and who would hardly be expected to welcome its destruction by its present members.

The Present State Of Affairs

Already, the three factors discussed have begun to affect caving clubs.  Taking access first, considerable progress has been made in the north towards replacing individual arrangements between land owners and cavers by a form of centralised access control.  Much more rapidly than I would have believed possible, we have seen the start of the abuse of power, as demonstrated by the Northern Council.  Far from learning any lesson from this on Mendip, we are in the process of taking the first steps towards a similar situation.

To those who argue that the Caving Councils are not external bodies but are merely the clubs of a region acting in concert, I would say that this may be true NOW but there is little guarantee that it will continue to be so in the future.  There are a number of organisations which have interests in caving and are not based on the club system.  The current Wessex Journal, which I would urge members to read, deals with one such group - that of the education system - to which we might well add scouting; various other youth organisations and the like.  Bodies such as the police (concerned with rescue organisations) and even local and national government departments would all find it easier to be represented on a single, central body through which they can exercise the greater degree of control that they might well start to consider desirable. The time could well arrive when the clubs, who formed the councils in the first place, found themselves in a minority on them.  Frankenstein, I seem to remember, found himself in a similar predicament.

On the financial front, no club is as yet anywhere near dependant on external funding - although several have had building grants, which may have started a taste for free handouts.  In this connection, it is of interest to see how the N.C.A. - a club controlled body, remember! - has so far used its money.  The bulk of this has gone to the scheme for Caving Instruction, which will result in the creation of a group of people who feel that they owe their authority to a central body rather than to any club.  The thin end, perhaps, of a very large wedge.

The very existence of a central authority tends to weaken local enterprise, even if it has no real teeth. Look for example, at the curious reluctance of Mendip surveyors to run counter to the C.R.G. in spite of the fact that nearly all of them are in some way dissatisfied with its policy.

Possible Future Developments

The way by which these factors may gain momentum until the club system is finally broken is best illustrated by a look into an imaginary future.  The only assumptions necessary are that the N.C.A. exercises effective control of cave access and contains sufficient people who desire the end of club caving.  Neither of these assumptions is, in my opinion, a severe extrapolation.

We thus have a position whereby clubs can be threatened by sanctions if they fail to implement central policies.  One can see clubs being 'recommended' to use 'qualified' cave instructors as a first move. Gradually, certificates of competence would become the norm - finishing up with an almost exact parallel to the Driving Test and M.O.T.

Having saturated the market for Instructors, the general appeal to safety - always a good emotional bet - might be next centred on tackle with the creation of 'recommended' standards of tackle and a central inspectorate to ensure its enforcement. This will require some full-time staff who will, to start with, have spare time on their hands which they will want to use to their best advantage.  The creation of a number of departments and committees of this central body would be one of the obvious outcomes of this state of affairs.  Thus, a club, for example, wishing to dig at a certain spot might well have to satisfy the Research and Exploration Committee, the Local Authorities Land Utilisation Co-ordinating Committee and the Cave Preservation and Environmental Control Committee for a start.  Needless to say, unauthorised caving of any sort would result in an enquiry with the possibility of individual suspension of licences or even the suspension of a club, if group culpability were proved.

Centralised cave and hut bookings for 'away' trips might well help some permanent official to fill up his day and increase his importance.  No doubt, a national journal would be started at about this stage.

The substitution of donations from clubs by a levy based on membership would provide yet another weapon to be used against such clubs who still showed an unacceptable degree of independence.  In this connection, Treasurers would be required to submit a standardised balance sheet and would thus find themselves, along with tackle officers, caving secretaries and hut wardens, effectively working for the central body.

Soon, clubs would be asked to adopt a model constitution, so that anomalies could be removed between clubs. By this time, the final blow would go almost unnoticed.  It would be called 'Rationalisation of Regional Assets' and would result in the creation of single regional headquarters having a full-time warden. The club system would be over.

Possible Counter-Moves

A heavy responsibility rests on all who control caving clubs if they wish to prevent something like that just described from actually taking place in the future.  Detailed action will of course, depend on the circumstances and the nature of the particular threat involved at anyone time.  It is, however, possible to imagine some general guidelines, which are listed below:-

  1. Keep informed:  It should be the duty of all who are concerned with the running of clubs to make themselves aware of all the moves which are being made or projected even if they have no apparent bearing on the situation.  In particular, those who represent clubs on the councils must understand fully the mechanism by which those councils work.  One of the main weapons of the organisational man is his ability to use procedural points to reduce the opposition.
  2. Look ahead:  A good chess player tries to work out the long term effects of his move, because he knows that short term advantages may prove detrimental in the long run.  The same type of thinking should guide clubs.  For example, if a club cannot do caves in the North as it used to because of access restrictions imposed by the Northern Council; should it join the Northern Council, or accept some immediate disadvantages?  Arguments in favour of joining may be that the influx of other clubs will alter majority decisions in that council.  Arguments against may be that if all clubs joined all councils, the way would be open for their abolition on the grounds that they were now all the same and that a single body could now replace them.  Careful thought on these sorts of lines is necessary for EVERY decision.
  3. Respect other Clubs:  While a certain competitive element is a natural part of the club way of life, it must be recognised that working away at removing another club's advantages which your club does not possess can eventually rebound on your own club.  The process of levelling down does most clubs nothing but harm eventually.  You joined your club by exercising your choice.  Make sure that a choice of the sort you enjoyed is not taken away from cavers of the future by this type of action.
  4. Take, and keep, the initiative:  Where you cannot prevent things occurring which are to the detriment of the club system, the only counter measure is to set up equivalent ones BASE ON THE CLUBS.  Thus, if some sort of competence document looks as if it cannot be avoided; it is better for clubs to take it upon themselves to organise a scheme than to have one forced down their throats.  Keeping one jump ahead without panicking is difficult but not impossible.
  5. Cultivate personal contacts.  If representatives of clubs can only meet under ‘official’ circumstances, a degree of stiffness is introduced which does not allow people to exchange ideas as freely as does informal between friends.  If all club officials were on a beer buying basis with each other, many suspicions and misunderstandings would be removed and cooperation could occur without letting in the beaurocrats.
  6. Remember who you represent:  If you are convinced that nothing you can do will save, or affect, the situation; you owe it to the members who elected you to look after their interests to tell them that you see no point in trying to stave off the inevitable.  This at least gives them the opportunity to decide whether they still want you to represent them.  If you really believe that it is already too late to save you club, then it is dishonest not to say so.


 

The Burrington Surface Survey

One of the major tasks which had to be carried out for the Burrington Atlas was the surveying of entrance heights of the caves. In this article, Dave Irwin and Doug. Stuckey describe the work which was done.

In 1968, work commenced on producing a handbook of the caves of Burrington. This involved the surveying of all the caves that had not at the time surveys readily available to the caver and also entailed the checking of all the altitudes of cave entrances. Discrepancies were noted between editions of ‘Caves of Mendip’ by Barrington regarding the altitude of East Twin.  So a surface survey was started to enable the altitudes and also the position of the various groups of caves to be positioned on the 25" O.S. map of the area.

The aim was to produce closed traverses that were linked to O.S. bench marks.  During a weekend in August 1968, Bill Smart used a telescopic levelling device and produced a set of results between the bench mark at Ellick House and the entrance to Aveline's Hole.  Spur lines were connected to several cave entrances en route.  The work lay dormant until September 1972 when Doug. Stuckey and Dave Irwin continued the work with the surveying unit. The finished traverse lines (see table 1 for details) and the spur lines amount in length to over three miles.  In certain cases, the readings were with both the compass and clinometer where the entrances needed to be located on the surface and others, where the entrances were marked on the 25" O.S. map, the clinometer only was used.

Figure 1 shows the traverse lines.  Locations of the caves have been marked, so giving the route of each of the lines. The survey lines were produced using fibron tapes and the survey unit.  Closed traverses were corrected by distributing the mis-closure equally between each station.  Where the compass was in use for cave location, this was calibrated using the centreline of the main road through the Coombe.  The readings were to the requirements of a Grade 6 survey.  The clinometer readings were read to the nearest ten feet on level stretches.  Leg lengths were up to a hundred feet.

From the table 2 it will be noted that there are a number of levels that disagree quite markedly from those quoted in ' Complete Caves of Mendip'.  The first East Twin Swallet is quoted as being 471 in CCM, taken from the values quoted on the B.B. (1).  The new surface survey located an error in a back bearing of the 1968 survey and so East Twin entrance altitude is 493 feet.

Rod's Pot created a problem for the authors.  The value quoted in CCM was based on a survey of the surface in the Reads - Rods area by Crickmay (2).  Three surveys were made by the authors between Drunkards Hole and Rod's Pot. The vertical differences between Rod's and Drunkards entrances were 11ft, 12ft and 16ft.  The difference quoted in CCM is 28 ft.  Having eliminated our third value of 16ft due to a poor clinometer reading we looked at the results of the traverse taken from West Twin Valley over to Rod’s Pot and back to the road line.  The vertical mis-closure was exceptionally good - in a traverse length of about 5,500 ft, the mis-closure was 3.23 ft, and the fact that the road traverse closed exceptionally well between the two bench marks leads us to assume that there is a serious error in CCM value.

Closing the traverses was carried out in the following manner.  The bench marks were located and the line closed on to them (traverse 1). Next, the line from the West Twin Valley via Rod's and back down the track to the cafe - thus re-joining traverse 1.  This was traverse 2.  Traverse 3 linked the West Twin (at Sidcot Swallet) Goatchurch and East Twin and re-joined the West Twin valley at the same point as the start of traverse 2. Levels of other caves were found by constructing spur lines from the closed traverses, and linking a number of caves along the line.

The assistance of the following members made this survey possible and our thanks is gratefully recorded. (Many people thought that the authors had given up actually going underground):- Chris Williams; Roger Stenner; John Hunt; Nigel Taylor; Mike Taylor and John Rees.

References:

1.                  Belfry Bulletin No 247 (October 1968).

2.                  U.B.S.S. Proceedings.  Vol 6 No 1 p37  (1946-1948).

3.                  Complete Caves of Mendip.  1972 Edition.

4.                  O.S. 25” survey Somerset sheet XVIII. 6.

TABLE 1

Traverse

Length

Vertical Range from B.M.

Mis-closure (Vertical)

Vertical Range obtained

Percentage Error

1

 

351.74

- 1.12

352.86

 

2

5,470

 

- 3.23

 

0.06

3

5,555

 

- 1.93

 

0.05

(all measurements in feet)

Table 2

Cave

Altitude

Altitude CCM 1972

Altitude B.B. 247

Pipsqueak

Elephant Hole

Elephant Rift

Lizard Hole

Frog Hole

Toad Hole

Road Arch

Foxes Hole

1921 Dig

Boulder Shaft

Spar Pot

East Twin Swallet

Top Sink

Dreadnought Holes West

                      East Upper

                      East Lower

Lionel’s Hole

Goon’s Hole

Bruce’s Hole

Barren Hole

Tween Twins

Pseudo Nash’s (A)

Jonny Nash’s

Pierre’s Pot

Quidlers Arch

Tunnel Cave

Whitcombes Hole

Goatchurch Cavern

Sidcot Swallet

Flange Swallet

Yew Tree Swallet

200 Yard Dig

Quarry Cave

Supra Avelines

Nameless Cave

Avelines Hole

Milliars Quarry Cave

Café Rift

Plumley’s Hole

Bath Swallet West

                      East

Rod’s Pot

Drunkard’s hole

Drunkard’s Dig

Bos Swallet

Read’s Cavern

Fox Holes

 

572.04

598.05

622.30

613.71

631.61

545.93

569.25

560.00

566.00

476.70

493.28

596.34

560.79

556.75

554.79

463.11

446.98

467.25

537.82

440.06

425.59

447.41

416.93

481.26

521.27

547.66

540.05

469.56

444.17

470.00

365.14

385.99

399.18

506.14

324.62

331.20

303.34

325.64

568.96

564.16

569.76

581.58

585.54

586.84

525.40

525.00 approx.

650

572

  -

  -

605

625

  -

565

  -

560

455

471

  -

  -

  -

  -

441

414

470

540

450

  -

425

424

485

517

546

530

470

440

465

360

  -

390

495

325

370

  -

328

  -

550

547

575

  -

585

527

525

 

572.04

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

470.61

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

324.82

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

  -

Notes:  CCM = Complete Caves of Mendip

(A)        Pseudo Nash’s Hole is listed as Johnny Nash’s Hole in CCM.

 


 

Voting Procedures

At the last A.G.M., the Committee was asked to look at voting procedures.  Here is the report of the Sub-Committee on the subject

The Sub-Committee, consisting of Mike Palmer (Chairman) Alan Thomas and Barry Wilton, met on the 4th of Feb.

Objective

Resulting from several proposals presented at the A.G.M., the meeting directed that the Committee examine the voting procedure with a view to ensuring that the ballot is secret.

Information

A sub-committee was formed from members of the club who answered a call for volunteers in the B.B. Only one letter was received in response to an appeal for member’s views.  Other people questioned by members of the sub Committee did not have any particular views on the matter.

This being so, it was generally agreed to review the voting procedure within the terms of reference of the club constitution and the A.G.M. directive and to keep recommendations within those limits.

Recommendations

It was agreed that the voting procedure is not carried out strictly in accordance with the club constitution that this could easily be rectified by producing a properly designed Ballot Form and a voting procedure which should be reproduced in the B.B. each year before the election time for the benefit of all members.

Barry Wilton agreed to design a proper Ballot Form which would contain all the relevant information and by its design ensure the required secrecy.  A copy of this form was attached to the original report and is not reproduced in this B.B. because it is self-explanatory. Its important features are;-

  1. The Words  'BALLOT FORM'
  2. A place for name and membership number.
  3. A tear-off strip ensuring secrecy of ballot.

The following was agreed:-

(a)                Ballot forms will only be sent out to fully paid-up members at the latest date for posting stipulated by the constitution.

(b)                Forms can be returned by post or handed in at the A.G.M.

(c)                No further forms will be available at the A.G.M.

(d)                The Tellers can still check the names against a list of paid-up members at the A.G.M. if necessary.

(e)                The tear-off strip shall be removed by the tellers before opening the ballot forms to count the vote. 

(f)                  Regarding (c) a notice is to be placed in the B.B. saying that if no ballot form has been received by two weeks before the A.G.M., the Secretary is to be contacted requesting a form.

(g)                The Chairman of the A.G.M. should direct the tellers to destroy the Ballot Forms and strips with the approval of the meeting.

(h)                At the start of any A.G.M., the Chairman should ask any non-members or non paid-up members to identify themselves so that they can be excluded from any voting.

Note that the foregoing does not require any alteration to the Club Constitution if adopted in toto or in part.  In the main, it is only an amplification of the procedure already formulated in the Constitution.

(Signed) Michael A. Palmer.

The General Committee of the B.E.C. have adopted this report, which therefore becomes the club's official procedure.

(Signed) S.J. Collins.


 

Monthly Crossword – Number 34.

 

1

 

2

 

3

4

 

5

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

8

 

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18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Across:

3. Otherwise glassy substance without little Surrey found near belfry. (4)
6. Associated for many years with Oakhill. (5)
7. Defines mud chamber in Cuthbert’s. (4)
9. Opposed to flow? (3)
11. Climbing aid. (3)
12. Long time. (3)
13. Make this nor a mistake. (3)
15. Stumble over cave visit? (4)
17. Removed from cave dig. (5)
18. Can be said of cave or of caver! (4)

Down:

1. Estimated time out initially. (1,1,1)
2. Flashy adjunct to caving? (4)
4. He goes first – like the dealer. (6)
5. Angle a form of ore. (6)
8. A jerk on a rope? (6)
9. Climbing ladder. (6)
10. Its home is between Plantation Junction and the Great Gour. (3)
14. Pore over this line? (4)
16. Edge of pot. (3)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword

N

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F

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S

T

A

L

O

 

I

 

O

 

 

L

 

S

 

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E

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T

 

 

 

T

 

E

 

A

R

O

W

 

O

 

A

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M

A

 

E

 

P

 

 

 

M

W

E

T

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U

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I

 

N

 

 

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A

 

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